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To L. M. Child.

They cannot know, who only know
Thy wise sweet written word,
Whose willing ears thy genial flow
Of speech have never heard,

Who have not in thy soul's true face
Traced each familiar line,--
The spirit's all informing grace
That moulds a life like thine.

But I, beloved, who have read,
As one God's book who reads,
The power by purest purpose shed
O'er homeliest ways and deeds;

Who know thy love's most royal power,
With largesse free and brave,
Which crowns thee helper of the poor,
The suffering and the slave;

Yet springs as freely and as warm
To greet the near and small,
The prosy neighbor at the farm,
The squirrel on the wall;

Which strengthens thee in hope to bear
And toil and strive alone,
And lift another's load of care,
While wearied 'neath thine own; [176]

So apt to know, so wise to guide,
So tender to redress,--
O friend, with whom such charms abide,
How can I love thee less?

E. S.

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Lydia Maria Child (1)
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