Oh drinking deep of slumber's holy wine,
Whence may the smile that lights thy countenance be?
We seek in vain the mystery to divine;
For in thy dim unconscious infancy
No games as yet, no playfellows are thine,
To stir in waking hours such thoughts of glee,
As, recollected in thine innocent dream,
Might shed across thy face this happy gleam.
It may be, though small notice thou canst take,
Thou feelest that an atmosphere of love
Is ever round thee, sleeping or awake:
Thou wakest, and kind faces from above
Bend o'er thee; when thou sleepest, for thy sake
All sounds are hushed, and each doth gently move;
And this dim consciousness of tender care
Has caused thy cheek this light of joy to wear.
Or it may be, thoughts deeper than we deem
Visit an infant's slumbers: God is near,
Angels are talking with them in their dream,
Angelic voices whispering sweet and clear:
And round them lies that region's holy gleam,
But newly left, and light which is not here;
And thus has come that smile upon thy face,
At tidings brought thee from thy native place.
But whatsoe'er the causes which beguiled
That dimple on thy countenance, it is gone;
Fair is the lake disturbed by ripple mild,
But not less fair when ripple it has none:
And now what deep repose is thine, dear child,
What smoothness thy unruffled cheek has won!
Oh! who that gazed upon thee could forbear
The silent breathing of a heartfelt prayer!