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Thou sinless and sweet one - thy voice is a strain
Which yields solace to sadness, and balm to my pain,
From thy unsullied spirit it comes to me here,
Like the music of Eden - soft, holy, and clear.
The storm-stirring thoughts o'er my heart holding sway,
At the charm of its gentleness vanish away!
For its melody, teeming with gladness and love,
Seems the song of the seraph to lure me above.
Beautiful prattler! - that music of mirth,
Yet unchecked by the cares and the sorrows of earth,
Mingles strangely where anguish and retchedness reign,
With the sigh of the captive, and the clank of his chain.
Yet I love to hear it, though captive I be,
Gushing pure from thy young heart all joyous and free.
There's a siren-like sweetness pervading its song
Which can woo me to virtue, and win me from wrong.
Play on then, - play on, then - for thou dost not know
What it is to be wretched and burdened with woe:
There's the fair world around thee, and blue sky above,
Ever seeming to breathe on thee beauty and love;
And the waters that flash in the suns golden beams,
Dance beneath thee as bright as thine own fairy dreams;
Yet here, there are hearts sank in ruin and crime,
Which once was as gleesome and guiltless as thine.
Beware! then - beware! - when seducingly gay,
Vice with counterfeit smiles, would beguile thee away
From the good and the lovely, from virtue and joy,
To the pleasures of sin, which debase and destroy.
Those holy emotions and pure thoughts which dwell
In the bosom of childhood - oh, cherish them well!
For if there's a true joy this world can impart,
It surely exists in the innocent heart.
Though remorse wring my soul, and
though care clothe my brow,
I once was as sinless and joyous as thou;
And knelt, too, like thee, by a fond mother's chair
With tiny hands folded in faith-hallowed pray'r.
Play on, my sweet child! there's a penitent tear
Stealing down my wan cheek as I list to thee here:
There's a prayer in my heart to the wise one above
To be made like a child in belief and in love.
O ever when gladly this gay world would win
With its tinselled allurements thy young heart to sin,
Turn away from the light of its illusive glare,
And seek in temptation thy refuge of pray'r.
Uncorrupted in heart and a stranger to woe.
With the garland of love green and bright on thy brow,
Mayn't thou journey through life and thy voice still retain
Its heav'n-given sweetness to sooth grief and pain.

by Owen Suffolk

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