To Beatrice Stuart--Wortley Ætat

by Alfred Austin

Alfred Austin

Patter, patter, little feet,
Making music quaint and sweet,
Up the passage, down the stair;
Patter, patter everywhere.
Ripple, ripple, little voice;
When I hear you, I rejoice.
When you cease to crow and coo,
Then my heart grows silent too.
Frolic, frolic, little form,
While the day is young and warm.
When the shadows shun the west,
Climb up to my knee, and rest.
Slumber, slumber, little head,
Gambols o'er and night-prayers said.
I will give you in your cot
Kisses that awake you not.
Open, open, little lids!
Lambs are frisking in the meads;
Blackcaps flit from stem to stem;
Come and chirp along with them.
Change not, change not, little fay;
Still be as you are to-day.
What a loss is growth of sense,
With decrease of innocence!
Something in your little ways
Wins me more than love or praise.
You have gone, and I feel still
Void I somehow cannot fill.
Yes, you leave, when you depart,
Empty cradle in my heart,
Where I sit and rock my pain,
Singing lullaby in vain.
Come back, come back, little feet!
Bring again the music sweet
To the garden, to the stair;
Patter, chatter everywhere.

Last updated January 14, 2019