The Christening

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The Christening
written by Walter de la Mare
Songs of Childhood (1902)




    The bells chime clear,
    Soon will the sun behind the hills sink down;
    Come, little Ann, your baby brother dear
    Lies in his christening-gown.

    His godparents
    Are all across the fields stepped on before,
    And wait beneath the crumbling monuments,
    This side the old church door.

    Your mammie dear
    Leans frail and lovely on your daddie's arm;
    Watching her chick, 'twixt happiness and fear,
    Lest he should come to harm.

    All to be blest
    Full soon in the clear heavenly water, he
    Sleeps on unwitting of't, his little breast
    Heaving so tenderly.

    I carried you,
    My little Ann, long since on this same quest,
    And from the painted windows a pale hue
    Lit golden on your breast;

    And then you woke,
    Chill as the holy water trickled down,
    And, weeping, cast the window a strange look,
    Half smile, half infant frown.

    I scarce could hear
    The larks a-singing in the green meadows,
    'Twas summertide, and budding far and near
    The hedges thick with rose.

    And now you're grown
    A little girl, and this same helpless mite
    Is come like such another bud half-blown,
    Out of the wintry night.

    Time flies, time flies!
    And yet, bless me! 'tis little changed am I;
    May Jesu keep from tears those infant eyes,
    Be love their lullaby!


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