Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Second Book of Modern Verse
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Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Second Book of Modern Verse.  1922.
 
Cradle Song
 
Josephine Preston Peabody
 
 
I

LORD GABRIEL, wilt thou not rejoice
When at last a little boy’s
    Cheek lies heavy as a rose
      And his eyelids close?
 
Gabriel, when that hush may be,        5
This sweet hand all heedfully
    I’ll undo for thee alone,
      From his mother’s own.
 
Then the far blue highway paven
With the burning stars of heaven,        10
    He shall gladden with the sweet
      Hasting of his feet:—
 
Feet so brightly bare and cool,
Leaping, as from pool to pool;
    From a little laughing boy        15
      Splashing rainbow joy!
 
Gabriel, wilt thou understand
How to keep this hovering hand?—
    Never shut, as in a bond,
      From the bright beyond?—        20
 
Nay, but though it cling and close
Tightly as a climbing rose,
    Clasp it only so,—aright,
      Lest his heart take fright.
 
      (Dormi, dormi, tu.        25
      The dusk is hung with blue.)
 
II

Lord Michael, wilt not thou rejoice
When at last a little boy’s
    Heart, a shut-in murmuring bee,
      Turns him unto thee?        30
 
Wilt thou heed thine armor well,—
To take his hand from Gabriel,
    So his radiant cup of dream
      May not spill a gleam?
 
He will take thy heart in thrall,        35
Telling o’er thy breastplate, all
    Colors, in his bubbling speech,
      With his hand to each.
 
      (Dormi, dormi, tu.
      Sapphire is the blue,        40
      Pearl and beryl, they are called,
      Crysoprase and emerald,
      Sard and amethyst
          Numbered so, and kissed.)
 
Ah, but find some angel-word        45
For thy sharp, subduing sword!
    Yea, Lord Michael, make no doubt
      He will find it out:
 
      (Dormi, dormi, tu!
      His eyes will look at you.)        50
 
III

Last, a little morning space,
Lead him to that leafy place
    Where Our Lady sits awake,
      For all mothers’ sake.
 
Bosomed with the Blessèd One,        55
He shall mind her of her Son,
    Once so folded from all harms
      In her shrining arms.
 
      (In her veil of blue,
      Dormi, dormi, tu.)        60
 
      So;—and fare thee well.
      Softly,—Gabriel …
When the first faint red shall come,
Bid the Day-star lead him home,
      For the bright world’s sake,        65
      To my heart, awake.
 

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