[Editor: This poem by Agnes Neale was published in Shadows and Sunbeams (1890).]
With your everlasting play,
Bright as noontide summer’s day,
Seeing nothing but the light,
Never thinking of the night,
Knowing nothing of the years,
With your April smiles and tears,
Little storms and small distresses,
Soothed by words and soft caresses,
Sheltered by love’s careful arms
From the world and all its harms,
Full of sunshine, bright with glee
As the dancing waves you see.
Folded safe in love’s warm clasp,
Held with tender, faithful grasp,
Guarded from all sin and shame,
Shielded from their very name,
Do you know the world is wide?
Do you know sin’s rushing tide
Has o’erwhelmed this earth of ours,
Killing all its fairest flowers?
Little bark on life’s rough sea,
What shall your sure anchor be?
What amid time’s storms and strife,
Shall preserve the spirit life?
Who shall bear for you life’s load?
Who can do it but your God?
Mother’s love that is so true,
Father’s ride that rests in you,
Cannot shield you from death’s night,
Cannot bring you to the light;
Not the fondest earthly love
Can secure a rest above;
Only God can make you free,
Free as you will wish to be,
When the storms of time are o’er,
When you reach the other shore;
Mother’s love and father’s pride
Leave you on the hither side.
In death’s waters cold and deep
Only God your soul can keep;
Trust Him, then, in life’s bright hour,
Give to Him the half-blown flower.
May He keep you from all harm,
May God’s great love keep you warm;
Lying on His loving breast
You will find life’s truest rest.
Agnes Neale, Shadows and Sunbeams, Adelaide: Burden & Bonython, 1890, pages 93-95
bark = (also spelt “barque”) a small sailing ship in general, or specifically a sailing ship with three (or more) masts, in which the aftmost mast is fore-and-aft rigged, whilst the other masts are square-rigged
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)
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