To Anna, three years old

My Anna, summer laughs in mirth,
And we will of the party be,
And leave the crickets in the hearth
For green fields' merry minstrelsy.

I see thee now with little hand
Catch at each object passing by,
The happiest thing in all the land
Except the bee and butterfly.

The weed-based arches' walls that stride
O'er where the meadow water falls
Will turn thee from thy path aside
To gaze upon the mossy walls.

And limpid brook that leaps along,
Gilt with the summer's burnished gleam,
Will stop thy little tale or song
To gaze upon its crimping stream.

Thou'lt leave my hand with eager speed
The new-discovered things to see—
The old pond with its water-weed
And danger-daring willow-tree,
Who leans, an ancient invalid,
O'er spots where deepest waters be.

In sudden shout and wild surprise
I hear thy simple wonderment,
As new things meet thy childish eyes
And wake some innocent intent.

As bird or bee or butterfly
Bounds through the crowd of merry leaves
And starts the rapture of thine eye
To run for what it ne'er achieves.

The simple reasoning arguments
Shaped to thy fancy's little view,
The joys and rapturous intents
That everywhere pursue.

So dreamed I over hope's young boon,
When merry summer was returning,
And little thought that time so soon
Would change my early hope to mourning.

I thought to have heard thee mid the bowers
To mock the cuckoo's merry song,
And see thee seek thy daisy flowers
That's been thy anxious choice so long.

But thou art on the bed of pain,
So tells each poor forsaken toy.
Ah, could I see that happy hour
When these shall be thy heart's employ,
And see thee toddle o'er the plain,
And stoop for flowers, and shout for joy.

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