To ---, Five Years Old

Delighted soul! that in thy new abode
Dwellest contentedly and knowest not
What men can mean who faint beneath the load
Of mortal life and mourn an earthly lot;

Who would believe thou wert so far from home?
Who could suppose thee exiled or astray?
This world of twilight whither thou art come
Seems just as welcome as thy native day.

That comely form, wherein thy thoughts are pent,
Hiding its rebel nature, serves thee still,
A pliable and pleasant instrument,
Harmonious to thy impulses and will.

Thou hast not spent as yet thy little store
Of happy instincts:--Thou canst still beguile
Painful reflection and ungrateful lore
With many a placid dream and causeless smile.

And when the awful stranger Evil bends
His eye upon thee, Thou wilt first essay
To turn him from his dark pursuits and ends
By gracious dalliance and familiar play:

As well might kindly words arrest the roll
Of billows raging o'er a wintry sea,--
O Providence! remit to this one soul
Its destined years, and take it back to Thee.

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