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(20 April 1826 - 12 October 1887 / Stoke-on-Trent / England)

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A Child’s Smile

A CHILD'S smile--nothing more;
Quiet, and soft, and grave, and seldom seen;
Like summer lightning o'er,
Leaving the little face again serene.

I think, boy well-beloved,
Thine angel, who did grieve to see how far
Thy childhood is removed
From sports that dear to other children are,

On this pale cheek has thrown
The brightness of his countenance, and made
A beauty like his own--
That, while we see it, we are half afraid,

And marvel, will it stay?
Or, long ere manhood, will that angel fair,
Departing some sad day,
Steal the child-smile and leave the shadow care?

Nay, fear not. As is given
Unto this child the father watching o'er,
His angel up in heaven
Beholds Our Father's face for evermore.

And he will help him bear
His burthen, as his father helps him now:
So may he come to wear
That happy child-smile on an old man's brow.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010


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