Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SERAPION, by BAYARD TAYLOR

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

SERAPION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Come hither, child! Thou silent, shy
Last Line: Thy father now, thy brother then.
Alternate Author Name(s): Taylor, James Bayard
Subject(s): Beauty; Children; Love; Soul; Childhood

COME hither, Child! thou silent, shy
Young creature of the glorious eye!
Though never yet by ruder air
Than father's kiss or mother's prayer
Were stirred the tendrils of thy hair,
The sadness of a soul that stands
Withdrawn from Childhood's frolit bands,
A stranger in the land, I trace
Upon thy brow's cherubic grace
The tender pleadings of thy face,
Where other stars than Joy and Hope
Have cast thy being's horoscope.

For thee, the threshold of the world
Is yet with morning dews impearled;
The nameless radiance of Birth
Imbathes thy atmosphere of Earth,
And, like a finer sunshine, swims
Round every motion of thy limbs:
The sweet, sad wonder and surprise
Of waking glimmers in thine eyes,
And wiser instinct, purer sense,
And gleams of rare intelligence
Betray the converse held by thee
With the angelic family.

Come hither, Boy! For while I press
Thy lips' confiding tenderness,
Less broad and dark the spaces be
Which Life has set 'twixt thee and me
Thy soul's white feet shall soon depart
On paths I walked with eager heart;
God give thee, in His kindly grace,
A brighter road, a loftier place!
I see thy generous nature flow
In boundless trust to friend and foe,
And leap, despite of shocks and harm,
To clasp the world in loving arms.
I see that glorious circle shrink
Back to thy feet, at Manhood's brink,
Narrowed to one, one image fair,
And all its splendor gathered there.
The shackles of experience then
Sit lightly as on meaner men:
In flinty paths thy feet may bleed,
Thorns pierce thy flesh, thou shalt not heed,
Till when, all panting from the task,
Thine arms outspread their right shall ask,
Thine arms outspread that right shall fly,
The star shall burst, the splendor die!
Go, with thy happier brothers play,
As heedless and as wild as they;
Seek not so soon thy separate way,
Thou lamb in Childhood's field astray!

Whence camest thou? what angel bore
Thee past so many a fairer shore
Of guarding love, and guidance mild,
To drop thee on this barren wild?
Thy soul is lonely as a star,
When all its fellows muffled are, --
A single star, whose light appears
To glimmer through subduing tears.
The father who begat thee sees
In thee no deeper mysteries
Than load his heavy ledger's page,
And swell for him thy heritage.
A hard, cold man, of punctual face,
Renowned in Credit's holy-place,
Whose very wrinkles seem arrayed
In cunning hieroglyphs of trade, --
Whose gravest thought but just unlocks
The problems of uncertain stocks, --
Whose farthest flights of hope extend
From dividend to dividend.
Thy mother, -- but a mother's name
Too sacred is, too sweet for blame.
No doubt she loves thee, -- loves the shy,
Strange beauty of thy glorious eye;
Loves the soft mouth, whose drooping line
Is silent music; loves to twine
Thy silky hair in ringlets trim;
To watch thy lightsome play of limb;
But, God forgive me! I, who find
The soul within that beauty shrined,
I love thee more, I know thy worth
Better, than she who gave thee birth.

Are they thy keepers? They would thrust
The priceless jewel in the dust;
Would tarnish in their careless hold
The vessel of celestial gold.
Who gave them thee? What fortune lent
Their hands the delicate instrument,
Which finer hands might teach to hymn
The harmonies of Seraphim,
Which they shall make discordant soon,
The sweet bells jangled, out of tune?
Mine eyes are dim: I cannot see
The purposes of Destiny,
But than my love Heaven could not shine
More lovingly, if thou wert mine!
Rest then securely on my heart:
Give me thy trust: my child thou art,
And I shall lead thee through the years
To Hopes and Passions, Loves and Fears,
Till, following up Life's endless plan
A strong and self-dependent Man,
I see thee stand and strive with men:
Thy Father now, thy Brother then.

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