About the Poem
About the poet
Baillie was a Scottish playwright, critic and poet who lived most of her life in Hampstead,...
A Mother To Her Waking Infant
Now in thy dazzling half-oped eye,
Thy curled nose, and lip awry,
Thy up-hoist arms, and noddling head,
And little chin with crystal spread,
Poor helpless thing! what do I see,
That I should sing of thee?
From thy poor tongue no accents come,
Which can but rub thy toothless gum:
Small understanding boasts thy face,
Thy shapeless limbs nor step, nor grace:
A few short words thy feats may tell,
And yet I love thee well.
When sudden wakes the bitter shriek,
And redder swells thy little cheek;
When rattled keys thy woe beguile,
And through the wet eye gleams the smile,
Still for thy weakly self is spent
Thy little silly plaint.
But when thy friends are in distress,
Thou’lt laugh and chuckle ne’er the less;
Nor with kindsympathy be smitten,
Tho’ all are sad but thee and kitten;
Yet punyvarlet that thou art,
Thou twitchest at the heart.
Thy smooth roundcheek so soft and warm;
Thy pinky hand, and dimpled arm;
Thy silken locks that scantly peep,
With gold-tipped ends, where circle deep
Around thy neck in harmless grace,
So soft and sleekly hold their place,
Might harder hearts with kindness fill,
And gain our right good will.
Each passing clown bestows his blessing,
Thy mouth is worn with old wives’ kissing:
E’en lighter looks the gloomy eye
Of surly sense, when thou art by;
And yet I think whoe’er they be,
They love thee not like me.
Perhaps when time shall add a few
Short years to thee, thou’lt love me too;
And after that, through life’s weary way
Become my sure and cheering stay;
Wilt care for me and be my hold,
When I am weak and old.
Thou’lt listen to my lengthened tale,
And pity me when I am frail–
But see, the sweepy spinning fly
Upon the window takes thine eye.
Go to thy little senseless play;
Thou dost not heed my lay.
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