Verse > Anthologies > Fuess and Stearns, eds. > The Little Book of Society Verse
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Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
 
To a Child
By Austin Dobson
 
(From the “Garland of Rachael”)

HOW shall I sing you, Child, for whom
  So many lyres are strung;
Or how the only tone assume
  That fits a Maid so young?
 
What rocks there are on either hand!        5
  Suppose—’t is on the cards—
You should grow up with quite a grand
  Platonic hate for bards!
 
How shall I then be shamed, undone,
  For ah! with what a scorn        10
Your eyes must greet that luckless One
  Who rhymed you, newly born,—
 
Who o’er your “helpless cradle” bent
  His idle verse to turn;
And twanged his tiresome instrument        15
  Above your unconcern!
 
Nay,—let my words be so discreet,
  That, keeping Chance in view,
Whatever after fate you meet
  A part may still be true.        20
 
Let others wish you mere good looks,—
  Your sex is always fair;
Or to be writ in Fortune’s books,—
  She’s rich who has to spare:
 
I wish you but a heart that’s kind,        25
  A head that’s sound and clear;
(Yet let the heart be not too blind,
  The head not too severe!)
 
A joy of life, a frank delight;
  A not-too-large desire;        30
And—if you fail to find a Knight—
  At least … a trusty Squire.
 
 
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