To an Infant Daughter

On the 2nd June 1820 three months after their marriage, Patty Clare presented her husband with a beautiful baby girl, Anna Maria.  John immediately wrote this poem in celebration of the birth.  Two years later, on the 13th June 1822 Patty and John had a second daughter, Eliza Louisa, but in that two years his world had been turned upside down, he was famous.

The photo shows a Christening Cup given to Eliza Louisa by her Godmother, Eliza Louise Emmerson for whom she of course was named.  John and Mrs Emmerson carried on a regular correspondence for many years and become firm friends.

The cup has been loaned to the Clare Cottage Trust, and may be viewed by appointment.

Sweet gem of infant fairy flowers
Thy smiles on lifes unclosing hours
Like sun beams lost in summer showers
     They wake my fears
When reason knows its sweets & sours
     Theyll change to tears

God help thee little sensless thing
Thou daisey like of early spring
Of ambushd winters hornet sting
     Hast yet to tell
Thou knowst not what tomorrows bring—
     I wish thee well

But thou art come & soon or late
Tis thine to meet the frowns of fate
The harpy grin of envys hate
     & mermaid smiles
Of worldly follys luring bait
     That youth beguiles

& much I wish what ere may be
The lot my child that falls to thee
Nature neer may let thee see
     Her glass betimes
But keep thee from my failings free
     No itch at ryhmes

L---d help thee in thy coming years
If thy mad fathers picture 'pears
Predominant—his feeling fears
     & gingling starts
Id freely now gi vent to tears
     To ease my heart

May thou unknown to ryhming bother
Be ignorant as is thy mother
& in thy manners such another
     Save sins nigh guest
& then wi scaping this & tother
     Thou mayst be blest

L---d knows my heart I wish thee much
& may my feeling ach[e]s & such
The pains I meet in follys clutch
     Be never thine—
Child its a tender string to touch
     That sounds ‘thourt mine’

The Village Minstrel, and Other Poems (2 volumes, 1821)

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