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Eric S. (Eric Sutherland) Robertson.

The children of the poets, an anthology from English and American writers of three centuries online

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THE CHILDREN OF THE POETS.



We meet wi' blytJiesome and kythcsome cheerie wcans^
Daffiii' and langhfri' far adoon the leafy lanes,
Wi' gowans and biiticrcitps buskin'' the thorny wands —
Sweetly si ngin' wi' tlie floive) -bi-ancli ivavin' in their hands.

William Miller.



THE ^ •^y^^^

CHILDREN OF THE POETS

AN ANTHOLOGY

FROM

ENGLISH AND AMERICAN WRITERS OF THREE CENTURIES,
EDITED, UTTH IXTRODUCTfO.V,



K R 1 C S. ROBERTSON. M. A.,

Professor of EnoUsh Literature in the University of the Puufaith, Lahore.



LONDON :
WAITER SCOTT, 24 WARWICK LANE,

PATERNOSTER ROW;

AND NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE.

1888.









WITH AFFECTION
I INSCRIBE THIS VOLUME TO

3. p. H)„

MY OLDEST FRIEND,
IN REMEMBRANCE OF OUR BOYHOOD.



E. S. R.



0-4>*fnorr




3nbe;r.



— * —



"A.' —

^\'ooJen I^egs
Deaf and Dumb .

Aide, Hamilton —

The Maid I Love .

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey-
Baby Bell

Alford, Henry —

The Gypsy Girl
Epimenides

Allingham, William —
The Lullaby
Half-Waking
Amy Margaret

Anonymous —

t\ My Sweet Sweeting



384
387



338



351



247
24S



32S
329



INDEX.



Austin, Alfred —
My Baby .

Ballad, Old (17/// Cenluiy) -
The Babes in the Wood



PAGE



15



Ballantine, James —

Creep afore ye Gang
Castles in the Air .



190
191



Barnes, William —

The Mother's Dream
The Child Lost .



243

244



Barr, Matthias —

Only a Baby Small

Bennett, W. C—

Baby May

Bird, R. —

When Little May's Asleep



36J



2S6



441



Blake, William —












Introduction to " Songs of Innocence " . . .61


The Little Black Boy






62


Holy Thursday










64


Infant Sorrow










65


Infant Joy










66


The Land of Dreams










67


A Cradle Song










68


Nurse's Song










69


The Echoing Green










70


The Little Girl Lost










72


The Little Girl Found










75



INDEX.



A Portrait .



Protus



Burns, Robert —

On the Poet's Daughter



PAGE



Blind, Math it. dk—

The Street Children's Dance . . .447

Bloomfield, Roukrt —

The Blind Child ....•• 79

Breton, Nicholas —

A Sweet Lullaby ....■• 5

Bkough, Robert B. —

Neighbour Nelly . ■ ■ • .223

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett—

My Child ....■•• ^93
The Cry of the Children . . . • -195



201



Browning, Robert—

Pippa's Song ....■• 256

The Boy and the Angel . . . • -257



261



Buchanan, Robert—

The Dead Mother . . • ■ .364



78



C, M. D.—

A Legend of the Water-Spirit called Ncchan . . 400

Canton, William —

Any Father ...■•• 426

Any Mother . . • ■ .426

A Philosopher . . • •• '^^7

The Great World . • • ■ • 4'^"



X INDEX.

Gary, Alice — page

My Darlings ...... 272

Adelied ....... 273

Coleridge, Hartley —

The Sabbath Day's Child . . . .131

Childhood . . . . ,134

" Of Such is the Kingdom of Heaven ' . .135

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor —

Epitaph on an Infant .... .97

To an Infant ...... 9S

Collins, Mortimer —

To a Very Young Lady ..... 326

Cotton, Nathaniel —

To a Child of Five Years Old , . . .56

CowPER, William —

On the Receipt of my Mother's Picture out of Norfolk . 57



Craik. Dinah Maria Muloch-
Monsieur et Mademoiselle



310



Philip my King . . . . . .312

CR.A.SHAVV, Richard—

In the Holy Nativity of our Lord God . . .26

De Vere, Aubrey —

Zoe, an Athenian Child ..... 26S

A Convent School in a Corrupt City . . . 270

The Children Band . . . , .271



INDEX. XI

DoBELi., Sydney — ^^^^

The Little Girl's Song . . . . . 3°°

DoBsoN, Austin —

Daisy's Valentines , . . . • 2,i>o

The Cradle ...... 362

Eliot, George —

Brother and Sister ..... 2S4

Emerson, Ralph Waldo—

Threnody ....... 157

Freeland, William —

A Birth Song ...... 355

Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E. —

On an Infant who was Burn, was Baptized, and Died on

the same Day , , . , . 263

Gosse, Edmund —

To my Daughter ...... 403

Spillende Genier ...... 405

To Teresa ..,.,.. 407

Greene, Robert—

Sephestia's Song to her Child . . . . 8

Harte, Bret —

Dickens in Camp .,..•. 358

Hemans, Felicia —

Casabianca . . . . . . 12S

The Child's Last Sleep . . . .130



INDEX.



HeKRICK, ROIIERT


I'AGF,


Epitaph upon a Child


21


A Grace for a Child


22


To his Saviour, a Child


23


The Wounded Cupid


24


Upon a Child that Dyed .


25



Hogg, James—

The Last Cradle Sons?



99



Holland, J. G. —

A Baby's Thoughts



398



Hood, Thomas —

A Parental Ode to my Son
I Remember, I Remember
A Retrospective Review .



136
138
140



HowiTT, Mary—

The Fairies of the Caldon-Low



239



Hunt, Leigh —
To T. L. H.



Ingelow, Jean —

The Snowdrop Monument



345



Inglis, Mary—

Let the Bairnies Plav



440



Johnson, Ben —

On my First Daughter
On my First Son



10

II



INDEX.



King, Mrs Hamilton —
The Cliildren

Lamb, Charles —
Childhood

On an Infant Dying as soon as Born
To a Posthumous Infant .

Lamb, Mary —

Feigned Courage
Parental Recollections
The New-Born Infant

Landor, Waltkr Savage —

Rosina ....

Before a Saint's Picture .

Different Graces .

Children Playing in a Chnifdiyard

There are some Wishes

Child of a Day

Langbridge, Frederick —
Jim: A Christmas Rhyme .

La no, F. C—

The Blind Lassie .

Locker, Frederick —
A Terrililc Infant
The Widow's Mite
A Rhyme of One
The Old Cradle .

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth—
The Reaper and the Flowers
Children ....
The Children's Hour
The Wreck of the Hesperus



I'AGE

379



114
"5



118
119



108
109
no
III

IT2
11.^



421

246

2SS
2S9
290
292

167
169

173



\



\



xiv INDEX.

Lowell, James Russell — tage

The Changeling ...... 279

The First Snow-Fali . . . .282

Lydgate, John —

A Medijeval Schoolboy . . , . . I

MacDonald, George —

The Children's Heaven ..... 294
Baby ....... 296

Marvell, Andrew—

Young Love ...... 44

Massey, Gerald —

Our White Rose . . . . . .321

Within a Mile ...... 323

Meredith, George —

Martin's Puzzle ...... 334

The Young Usurper ..... 337

Meredith, Owen —

Little Ella ...... 348

Miller, Joaquin—

The Unknown Tongue ..... 444



Miller, William —

Wee Willie Winkle

Spring ....

The Wonderfu' Wean

Hairst ....

Milton, John —

Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity



217
218
219
221



32



On the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough . 41



INDEX.



MoiR, David MacBeth - page

Casa Wappy ...... 204

Morris, Lewis —

At Chambers ...... 418

MouLTON, Louise Ciiaxdlkr —

" If I could Keep her .so" . . ... 388

Moultrie, John —

The Three Sons ...... 144

Nesbit, E. —

Birthtide ....... 457

Noel, Hon. Roden -

The Toy Cross . . . . . . 371

Last Victims from the Wreck of the Princess Alice . 372
Only a Little Child . . . . -375

" That they all may be one ' . . . . 378

Patmore, Coventry—

The Toys ....... 298

Piatt, S. M. B.—

A Dream's Awakening ..... 390

Questions of the Hour ..... 391

My Artist ...... 393

Last Words .•■■-■ 395

To Marian, Asleep ..... 396

Praed, Winthrop Mackworth —

School and Schoolfellows .... 147

Sketch of a Young Lady Five Months Old , . 151
Childhood and his Visitors . . . .154



INDEX.



Rands, W. B.-
I'olly

Madcap



PAGF



Prior, Matthew—

To a Child yf Quality, Five Years Old . . ■ 49

Procter, Adelaide Ann—

God's Gifts ...... 304

Procter, Bryan Waller —

Golden-Tressed Adelaide . . - .124

On the Portrait of a Child . . • • 125



22S
2^1



Reid, T. D.—

Baby Violet . . . - • -435

Robinson, A. Mary F. —

The School Chil.lren . , . - -452

Rossetti, Christina —

Johnny . . - • - • -341

Buds and Babies . . . - • .344

Saxe, John Godfrey —

My Boyhood .... 274

Sawyer, William—

The Painted Window . . » • 307

Scott, Sir Walter—

Lullaby of an Infant Chief . -96

ScoTi', William Bell—

OfMe . . . . - • • -252

Little Boy . . . ■ • 253

The Birth of a Soul , , ■' • 255



INDEX. xvii

Sharp, William—

Christmas Eve . . • ■ • -44

Shelley, Percy Bysshe—

To William Shelley . • • .126

Sidney, Sir Philip—

Child-Song ..-.•• 4

Smart, Alexander—

The Herd Laddie ^49

The Truant ..•••• ^

Smedley, Menella Bute— '

A Boy's Aspirations . ■ • • "3

Smith, James —

Wee Joukydaidles . . . • • ^^5

Sterry, J. Ashby—

The King of the Cradle . . • • .368

Stevenson, Robert Louis —

Young Night Thought . • • • . ' 43i

The Land of Counterpane 432

Escape at Bedtime . ■ ^33

My Bed is a Boat . • • • -434

Southey, Robert—

Queen INIary's Christening . • • .100

Southwell, Robert—

The Burning Babe ..•••'

Surrey, Earl of—

The Age of Children Happiest . - - • 3



xviii INDEX.

Swan, Robert — ^^^^

A Sang to the Wean ..... 443

Swinburne, A. C. —

Etude Realiste . . . ■• . • SH

Not a Child ...... 3i6

A Child's Pity ...... S^S

A Child 320

Symington, A. J. —

Lammie Doo ...... 40°

Wee Lammie Doo . . . • • 4^6

Tennyson, Lord —

As through the Land . . . • • 210
Sweet and Low . . . . . .211

In the Children's Hospital . . • • 212

Tennyson-Turner, Charles—

Letty's Globe ...... 209

Thomson, James —

The Wee Croodlin' Doo . . . . ■ 459

Vaughan, Henry —

The Retreat ...... 46

Childhood . . . • . .47

Watis, Isaac —

A Cradle Song . . . . . '5'

Watts, Theodore —

The Bedouin Child . . . . .33°

A Gipsy-Child's Christmas .... 332

' ' Baby Smiled " . . . • • • 333



INDEX.



Webster, Augusta —

Baby Eyes .....

Whitehead, William —

On the Birthday of a Young Lady, Four Years Old

Whitman, Walt —

There was a Child went Forth



I'AGE

383



55



276



Whittier, John Greenleaf—




The Little People


. 177


The Barefoot Boy


. 178


Vesta ....


. 182


In School-Days .


. 183


Child-Songs


. 185


Red Riding-Hood


. 188



Williams, Sir Charles H. —

A Song upon Miss Harriet Hanbury

Willis, Nathaniel Parker—

A Child's First Impression of a Star

Wingate, David —

John Frost (suggested by the prattle of a child)
The Collier's Ragged Wean . .

Wither, George —

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

Wordsworth, William —
Three Years She Grew
We arc Seven ....
Lucy Gray ; or, Solitude .
Ode



53



234
237



81

83
£6
S9




3nttobucfion.



— *



TALES from Arabia describe the wise magician whose
cunning ear, held close to the ground in the hot
heart of an African desert, could detect the patter-
ing of children's feet on the pavement of Bagdad, discrim-
inating voice from voice in the shouts that accompanied
their games. It is harder for us to find, throughout ancient
hterature, many echoes of youthful laughter or ghmpses of
youthful smiles. The instinct that links parent to child
must always have been one of the best marked sources of
sentiment in primitive, as it is in modern writings ; but the
child by itself, as a study for the artist, either in words or in
plastic and graphic reproductive processes, is an invention
of the moderns. It seems to be the case that as the world
grows older it more and more takes interest in things that
are young. The earliest poetry never received so much
attention as it does now. Prehistoric art has in our days a



xxii INTRODUCTION.

multitude of students. We of this critical age are searching
into the beginnings of things; and one of our discoveries is,
that the most entrancing method of studying humanity's
beginnings lies in the freshest problems God sends us. The
whole secret of humanity can be examined in an infant,
whether by laborious inductions of science like Darwin's
or by subtle divinations like Victor Hugo's. In the early
world, the general spirit of man was more childlike, and
tender lives were looked at with less wistful eyes than our
own. But we, with our enlarged record of great nations and
great religions come to dust, and the dark of futurity still
before us — we, less filled with the joy of living, turn with
increasing interest to the capacities for love and faith, the
sense of the goodness of existence, and the longing expect-
ancy of a growing brightness, that make up the spirit of
childhood.

It is true that if we do put our ears very close to the
ground, and listen intently, we can catch a few notes of child
humanity from far lands and times ; and these show us, as we
might expect, that the young of all ages and climes resemble
each other closely in their feelings and habits. In Homer
we find boys building sand-castles by the sea, or hunting
for wasps' nests, as our own children might do. The old
poet describes the crowd of gay young rustics who attempt
with their cudgels to drive the wandering donkey out of a
corn-field ; and sulky Ajax facing the Trojans is likened to
that donkey. Hector at the Scaean Gate enacts with wife
and child the most beautiful tableau of parental affection
that ancient literature affords ; and even the selfish nature
of Achilles has noted the sorrows of a little maid : —



INTRODUCTION. xxiii

" Why weeps Patroclus like an infant girl,
That prays her mother, by whose side she runs,
To take her up, and, clinging to her gown,
Impedes her way, and still with tearful eyes
Looks in her face, until she takes her up?"

It is this Achilles who in early days climbs on the knees of

his father's guest, clamours for a sip from his goblet, and

spills the wine over his bib. The boy Ulysses walks with

his father through the home-garden, learning the names of

trees and flowers, and glancing proudly at the plot of ground

he has had given him — all to himself. Sweetest of Horner's

young folks, Nausicaa is herself hardly more than a child

when Ulysses rises from his bed of leaves to disturb her

game of ball. Few, few are the references to childhood in

ancient literature so natural as Homer's. One indeed is so

very human that the fragment containing it will never be

forgotten —

" Hesperus brings all things back
Which the daylight made us lack-
Brings the sheep and goats to rest,
Brings the baby to the breast."

These lines of Sappho's suggest to us that perhaps the first
attempt at song that sprang from human lips was a lullaby,
and the first notion of metre derived itself from the rocking
of an infant in its mother's arms or in a cradle.

Such hints show us that the Greeks took the sweetness
of childhood as a patent fact, and cared to analyse it no
more than they would have wished to grasp at a cloud in
the blue. In art they held equally aloof from direct study
of child-being. But the infant Dionysus sporting among
submissive beasts of the forest makes a picture that takes



xxiv INTR OD UCTION.

from one of the least lovely of old superstitions much of its
grossness, and Eros by the side of Aphrodite makes us
forget how many of her sighs are wanton.

Far different, however, is the relation of mother to child
in the first great transition of art from classicism. The
Goose Boy of the Vatican collection, and here and there a
stray example of a like kind, may suggest that Greeks and
Romans never quite forgot to dally with children's beauty
in art; but in the Middle Ages the child was suppressed,
save in the Church. In sculpture the Church gave us little
more than grotesques from the hands of cathedral masons,
and the wooden bambini, the worship of which was eagerly
taken up by the common people, as it still is — let any one
witness who steps into the Aracceli Church, at Rome in the
Christmas time. In painting, the Church allowed only
emaciated Christs designed in stiff lines full of symbohsm.
And the Virgin, whose effigy was long prohibited in every
form, was scarcely attempted, save in a symbolic style, till
Cimabue's time. When all Florence turned out to see
Cimabue's Virgin and Child for an altar at Santa Maria
Novella, the excitement was due to the fact that art was
beginning to revolt from theological abstractions, in favour
of ordinary flesh and blood. Giotto next tried to paint the
Infant Saviour naturally. Giotto draws Him laughing or
crying, and even playing with the symbolic apple held in his
hand. In sculpture, somewhat later, the Renaissance of
classical forms inspired Donatello with his singing children
for the Florentine Duomo, Luca della Robbia with his
child-fantasies in terra cotia, and John of Bologna with his
bronze Cupids.



INTRODUCTION. xxv

But Raphael's transcendent genius explored the mysteri-
ous beauty of this theme. Deadly blows at the Church's
monachism were these studies of Madonna and Child
painted by Raphael. Abstractions vanished from his can-
vases, though he retained many of the symbols. His
Madonna was a flesh-and-blood woman of the people, with
a healthily developed child held to her ample bosom.
Well might the Church have been chary of allowing artists
to abandon the theologically abstract method of represent-
ing a mysterious miracle-working Virgin with her still more
mysterious Child. In Raphael's pictures the most mysteri-
ous thing about the Madonna is her exquisite womanly
beauty, and the worshippers who looked upon the babes he
depicted for them felt that he was drawing portraits from
their own homes. The blessings of a man's home — wife
and child — were what Raphael's l>est canvases preached in
every great church of Italy.

While art was thus developing the cult of childhood,
literature had scarcely awakened to the subject. It is true
that Church dogmas were then enshrining themselves in
legends of varying beauty, and the Holy Child perched on
the broad shoulders of St Christopher, or descending to the
outstretched arms of the ecstatic St Francis of Assisi,
becomes an object of interest to the poet, apart from the
religious doctrines with which such appearances are con-
nected. In Troubadour poetry, of course, v.-e have the
•page, but he is so artificial a specimen of youth (even in
his youngest stage) that he is not worth staying to consider.
Of interest in common childhood around them the penmen
of the dark ages were almost wholly devoid; and probably



xxvi INTR OD UCTION.

it would be hard to produce from a century before the
fifteenth any passage of mark on the subject save Dante's
(in the " Inferno "), copied by Chaucer —

" Of erl Hugilin of Pise the languour
Ther may no tonge telle for pite.
But litel out of Pise stant a tour,
In whiche tour in prisoun put was he ;
And with him been his litel children thrc,
Theldest skarsely fyf yer was of age ;
Alias ! fortune ! it was gret cruelte
Suche briddes to put in such a cage."

The story of UgoUno's starvation with his babes is told by
our poet — through the Monke's lips — in brief ; but,

" Who-so will hiere it in a lenger wise,
Rede the gret poet of Itaile,
That high Daunte, for he can it devise
Fro poynt to poynt nought oon word will he fayle.'

Chaucer likewise gives us glimpses of his sunny sympathies
in the Prioresse's Tale of a martyred Christian boy —

" Ther was in Acy, in a gret citee
Amonges Cristen folk a Jewerye,
Susteyned by a lord of that contre.
For foul usure and lucre of felonye,
Hateful to Crist, and to his compaignye ;
And thurgh the strete men mighte ride and wende,
For it was fre, and open at everiche end.

A litel scole of Cristen folk ther stood
Doun at the forther end, in which ther were
Children an heep y comen of Cristen blood.
That lered in that scole, yer by yere.
Such maner doctrine as men usede there ;
This is to saye, to synge and to rede.
As smale childer doon in her childhede.

Among these children was a widow sone,
A litel clergeoun, that seve yer was of age,



INTRODUCTION. xxvii

That day by day to scole was his wonc ;
And eek also, wherso he saugh thyniage
Of Cristes moder, had he in usage,
As him was taught, to knele adoun, and saye
His Ave Maria, as he goth by the waye."

The little scholar's hymn-singing is resented by the Jews of
the qtiarter, and old Satan

"That hath in Jewes hert his waspis nest,''

brings about his murder. On the whole, the story is
repulsive : —

" Ther he with throte i-corve lay upright,
He Alma redempt07-is gan to synge
So lowde, that al the place bigan to rynge."

After Chaucer, we encounter in Lydgate an interesting
poeni of boyhood, lines which appropriately open this
anthology.

Among our early English writers, we might have expected
Spenser to have given evidence of sympathy for child-life ;
but he has not even left us an elegy upon the child he lost
in the terrible Irish fire. Sir Walter Raleigh hands down to
us grotesque lines to his son about the gallows, and Gower
begins a respectable poem " On the Nativity of Christ,"

thus —

" Rorate, Coeli desuper I

Heavens, distil your balmy show'rs,
For now is risen the bricht day-star

For the Rose-May, flow'r of flow'rs :
The clear sun whom no cloud devours,

Surmounting Phoebus in the east,
Is coming of his heavenly tow'rs ;
Et nobis Puer natus est."



xxviii . INTRODUCTION.

The first really fine child-poem in our literature is
Southwell's " Burning Babe." Its exquisitely pure feeling,
and the mystic light and heat of the language, render the
poem so impressive that it can be learnt off by heart in two
or three readings. Occurring so early in the present collec-
tion, the " Burning Babe " really shows us the point from
which both the literature and the art of modern times had
to start, in their treatment of the child— the glorification of
young Jesus. Readers of this volume will see that I have
chosen to represent Mr William Sharp, among poets of our
own day, with fine hnes that have a note somewhat like that
of Southwell's piece, though their composition was unin-
fluenced by it. Southwell's noble spirit endured the wounds
and thorns, like his Master : love was the fire, sighs were
the smoke, the ashes — " shame and scorn." After years of
torture in a dungeon, all which he endured steadfastly as a
martyr for Catholicism, he was condemned to death in
1594, and the hands of bigots hanged him in company with
a highwayman, afterwards disembowelling and quartering
his body. Sir Edward Coke conducted the shameful prose-
cution of this high-souled Jesuit, with whose family, by the
way, Percy Bysshe Shelley was connected by descent.
While Southwell was rotting in his dungeon, in the reign of
good Queen Bess, Shakespeare was playing his many parts ;
and about the time of the Romanist martyr's execution, the
dramatist's " King John " was being finished. It is in this
play that Shakespeare gives us his only notable child-
character, and the scene in which Arthur's "artless
eloquence " pleads with Hubert against the decree of his
malignant uncle, remains one of the most deeply moving



INTRODUCTION. xxix

passages in our dramatic literature. Strong as it is, how-
ever, it is not nature. Is this the language of a child,
however noble of blood and valiant in bearing ? —

'■'^ Arthur. The instrument is cold,
And would not harm me.

Hubert. I can heat it, boy.

Aiihtir. No, in good sooth ; the fire is dead with grief ;
Being create for comfort, to be us'd
In undeserv'd extremes : See else yourself ;


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