To a Child Blowing Bubbles

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Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled
Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless child! ~ COLERIDGE.

Thrice happy Babe! what radiant dreams are thine,
As thus thou bidd'st thine air-born bubbles soar;—
Who would not Wisdom's choicest gifts resign
To be, like thee, a careless child, once more.
To share thy simple sports, and sinless glee;
Thy breathless wonder, thy unfeigned delight,
As, one by one, those sun-touched glories flee,
In swift succession, from thy straining sight!
To feel a power within himself to make,
Like thee, a rainbow wheresoe'er he goes;
To dream of sunshine, and like thee to 'wake
To brighter visions, from his charmed repose.
Who would not give his all of worldly lore,—
The hard-earned fruits of many a toil and care,—
Might he but thus the faded past restore,
Thy guileless thoughts and blissful ignorance share.
Yet Life hath bubbles too, that soothe a while
The sterner dreams of man's maturer years;
Love—Friendship—Fortune—Fame—by turns beguile,
But melt, 'neath Truth's Ithuriel-touch, to tears.
Thrice happy Child! a brighter lot is thine;
(What new illusion e'er can match the first?)
We mourn to see each cherished hope decline;
Thy mirth is loudest when thy bubbles burst.

© Alaric Alexander Watts