Thomas Aird

A Father's Curse: A Dream, In Four Versions: Version First

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A widowed father from the holy fount
Of Christian sprinkling bore his first-born babe
Home through the Sabbath noon. And aye his hand
Arranged the garment in a lighter fold
To overshade that breathing face upturned,
Yet let it freely drink the vital air.
And oft scarce walked he in his gaze intent,
Which fed on his boy's face,
Come out of his own loins,
Formed in the painful side
Of a dear mother—gone to barren dust.
O the wet violets of those sleeping eyes,
Which glisten through their silky fringèd lids!
Look to that dimpled smile! Look to those gums,
How sweet they laugh! His little features change,
To fear now fashioned in his baby dreams:
With many a kiss and many a murmured word,
Fain would that father chase away the shadow!

The Sabbath sun went down the western day.
His sloping beam, mingled with coloured motes,
Came through the leafy checkered lattice in,
Passing into a little bed of peace,
Where lay, in vestments white of innocence,
That child of many vows; no ruder sound
Than chirp of lonely sparrow in the thatch,
Or fluttering wing of butterfly which beat
The sunny pane, to break his slumber calm.
Before him near, in that mild solemn light,
Kneeling his father prayed.

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Thomas Aird