Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Phases Of Girlhood

With fondest love and sweetest pleasure
Gaze I on my infant treasure-
My sweetest rose, my purest pearl,
Heaven's latest gift, my baby-girl.
Opening wide her violet eyes
With a wondering, sweet surprise,
Gazing in my smiling face,
Nestled in my soft embrace,
With her rose-tipped fingers straying
O'er my breast, or sportive playing
With my falling tangled hair:
Tender love and anxious care
Ever shield from pain and peril
Mother's pet, her baby-girl.
A babe no more; a lovely child,
With soft blue eyes, and features mild,
With prattling tongue, and nimble feet,
And silvery voice as music sweet.
Nature has been very kind
To my darling; from her mind,
Stored with sparkling gems of thought,
On her lisping tongue are brought
To my ears, and she will ask
Questions that will sometimes task
Me to give, as she desired,
Answers such as were required.
Mother's will is still her law,
Bonds of sweet affection draw
To my heart, and hold her there,
With earnest prayer and loving care,
And trust in God, from sin and peril,
To guard and shield my little girl.
Now my girl must go to school,
Be subject to her teacher's rule;
At home were trained the budding beauties
Of her mind-her moral duties.
Well she knows her gentle heart
Is tender, true, and void of art;
On that mind, so pure and good,
May never evil thoughts intrude;
In that loving little heart
May never shame or grief have part;
In that motley congregation-
A common school-contamination
From falsehood, evil words, and strife,
Sully the streams of youthful life-
From every ill that would infect
Her mind, may God my child protect;
And much may she, my darling daughter,
Profit by the knowledge taught her.
When school she leaves, be still my pearl,
An innocent and happy girl.
My girl is but a workman's child,
And so not Miss but Maggie styled.
At school four years has been at most,
And now she leaves-not for the cost,
For that is small-at home she's wanted;
A little colony is planted
Upon the hearth and round the table.
There's more to do than mother's able
To perform, and Maggie's clever,
And now is done with school for ever.
She now is set to washing, scrubbing,
Baking, cooking, wringing, rubbing;
Nursing little sis or brother
To relieve poor, weary mother.
Time goes on, now Maggie's tall,
Very pretty, too, withal;
Getting forward with her teens,
Knows not yet what wooing means.
All too soon shall Maggie know
The hopes, the doubts, the bliss, the woe
Of love. Oh! may good angels guard,
And virtue have its full reward.
Thank God, from sin, from shame, and peril,
He still preserves my virtuous girl.
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