The Gipsy Child

He sprung to life in a crazy tent,
Where the cold wind whistled through many a rent;
Rude was the voice, and rough were the hands
That soothed his wailings and swathed his bands.
No tissue of gold, no lawn was there,
No snowy robe for the new-born heir;
But the mother wept, and the father smiled
With heartfelt joy o'er their gipsy child.

He grows like the young oak, healthy and broad,
With no home but the forest, no bed but the sward
Half naked, he wades in the limpid stream,
Or dances about in the scorching beam.
The dazzling glare of the banquet sheen
Hath never fallen on him, I ween;
But fragments are spread and the wood-fire piled,
And sweet is the meal of the gipsy child.

He wanders at large, while maidens admire
His raven hair and his eyes of fire
They mark his cheek's rich tawny hue,
With the deep carnation flushing through:
He laughs aloud, and they covet his teeth,
All pure and white as their own pearl wreath
And the courtly dame and damsel mild
Will turn to gaze on the gipsy child.

Up with the sun, he is roving along,
Whistling to mimic the blackbird's song;
He wanders at nightfall to startle the owl,
And is baying again to the watch-dog's howl.
His limbs are unshackled, his spirit is bold,
He is free from the evils of fashion and gold
His dower is scant and his life is wild,
But kings might envy the gipsy child.
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