Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1179. Little Wild Baby
 
By Margaret Thomson Janvier (“Margaret Vandegrift”)
 
 
THROUGH the fierce fever I nursed him, and then he said
I was the woman—I!—that he would wed;
He sent a boat with men for his own white priest,
And he gave my father horses, and made a feast.
I am his wife: if he has forgotten me,        5
I will not live for scorning eyes to see.
(Little wild baby, that knowest not where thou art going,
Lie still! lie still! Thy mother will do the rowing.)
 
Three moons ago—it was but three moons ago—
He took his gun, and started across the snow;        10
For the river was frozen, the river that still goes down
Every day, as I watch it, to find the town;
The town whose name I caught from his sleeping lips,
A place of many people and many ships.
(Little wild baby, that knowest not where thou art going,        15
Lie still! lie still! Thy mother will do the rowing.)
 
I to that town am going, to search the place,
With his little white son in my arms, till I see his face.
Only once shall I need to look in his eyes,
To see if his soul, as I knew it, lives or dies.        20
If it lives, we live, and if it is dead, we die,
And the soul of my baby will never ask me why.
(Little wild baby, that knowest not where thou art going,
Lie still! lie still! Thy mother will do the rowing.)
 
I have asked about the river: one answered me,        25
That after the town it goes to find the sea;
That great waves, able to break the stoutest bark,
Are there, and the sea is very deep and dark.
If he is happy without me, so best, so best;
I will take his baby, and go away to my rest.        30
(Little wild baby, that knowest not where thou art going,
Lie still! lie still! Thy mother will do the rowing.
The river flows swiftly, the sea is dark and deep;
Little wild baby, lie still! Lie still and sleep.)
 

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