[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]
A LITTLE maiden met me in the lane,
And smiled a smile so very fain,
So full of trust and happiness,
I could not choose but bless
The child, that she should have such grace
To laugh into my face.
She never could have known me; but I thought
It was the common joy that wrought
Within the little creature's heart,
As who should say:-" Thou art
As I ; the heaven is bright above us ;
And there is God to love us.
And I am but a little gleeful maid,
And thou art big, and old, and staid ;
But the blue hills have made thee mild
As is a little child.
Wherefore I laugh that thou may'st see-
O, laugh! O, laugh with me! "
A pretty challenge! Then I turned me round,
And straight the sober truth I found.
For I was not alone; behind me stood,
Beneath his load of wood,
He that of right the smile possessed-
Her father manifest.
O, blest be God ! that such an overplus
Of joy is given to us
That that sweet innocent
Gave me the gift she never meant,
A gift secure and permanent!
For, howsoe'er the smile had birth,
It is an added glory on the earth.