Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
 
Poems of Home: I. About Children
Baby Zulma’s Christmas Carol
Augustus Julian Requier (1825–1887)
 
A LIGHTER scarf of richer fold
  The morning flushed upon our sight,
And Evening trimmed her lamps of gold,
  From deeper springs of purer light;
And softer drips bedewed the lea,        5
And whiter blossoms veiled the tree,
And bluer waves danced on the sea
When baby Zulma came to be!
 
The day before, a bird had sung
  Strange greetings on the roof and flown;        10
And Night’s immaculate priestess flung
  A diamond from her parted zone
Upon the crib beside the bed,
Whereunto, as the doctor said,
A king or queen would soon be led        15
By some sweet Ariel overhead.
 
Ere yet the sun had crossed the line
  When we, at Aries’ double bars,
Behold him, tempest-beaten, shine
  In stormy Libra’s triple stars:        20
What time the hillsides shake with corn
And boughs of fruitage laugh unshorn
And cheery echoes wake the morn
To gales of fragrance harvest-born.
 
In storied spots of vernal flame        25
  And breezy realms of tossing shade,
The tripping elves tumultuous came
  To join the fairy cavalcade:
From blushing chambers of the rose,
And bowers the lily’s buds enclose,        30
And nooks and dells of deep repose,
Where human sandal never goes,
 
The rabble poured its motley tide:
  Some upon airy chariots rode,
By cupids showered from side to side,        35
  And some the dragon-fly bestrode;
While troops of virgins, left and right,
Like microscopic trails of light,
The sweeping pageant made as bright
As beams a rainbow in its flight!        40
 
It passed: the bloom of purple plums
  Was rippled by trumpets rallying long
O’er beds of pinks; and dwarfish drums
  Struck all the insect world to song:
The milkmaid caught the low refrain,        45
The ploughman answered to her strain,
And every warbler of the plain
The ringing chorus chirped again!
 
Beneath the sunset’s faded arch,
  It formed and filed within our porch,        50
With not a ray to guide its march
  Except the twilight’s silver torch:
And thus she came from clouds above,
With spirits of the glen and grove,
A flower of grace, a cooing dove,        55
A shrine of prayer and star of love!
 
A queen of hearts!—her mighty chains
  Are beads of coral round her strung,
And, ribbon-diademed, she reigns,
  Commanding in an unknown tongue.        60
The kitten spies her cunning ways,
The patient cur romps in her plays,
And glimpses of her earlier days
Are seen in picture-books of fays.
 
To fondle all things doth she choose,        65
  And when she gets, what some one sends,
A trifling gift of tiny shoes,
  She kisses both as loving friends;
For in her eyes this orb of care,
Whose hopes are heaps of frosted hair,        70
Is but a garland, trim and fair,
Of cherubs twining in the air.
 
O, from a soul suffused with tears
  Of trust thou mayst be spared the thorn
Which it has felt in other years,—        75
  Across the morn our Lord was born,
I waft thee blessings! At thy side
May his invisible seraphs glide;
And tell thee still, whate’er betide,
For thee, for thine, for all, He died!        80
 
 
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