Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Baby May

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William Cox Bennett b. 1820

Baby May

CHEEKS as soft as July peaches,

Lips whose dewy scarlet teaches

Poppies paleness—round large eyes

Ever great with new surprise,

Minutes fill’d with shadeless gladness,

Minutes just as brimm’d with sadness,

Happy smiles and wailing cries,

Crows and laughs and tearful eyes,

Lights and shadows swifter born

Than on wind-swept Autumn corn,

Ever some new tiny notion

Making every limb all motion—

Catching up of legs and arms,

Throwings back and small alarms,

Clutching fingers—straightening jerks,

Twining feet whose each toe works,

Kickings up and straining risings,

Mother’s ever new surprisings,

Hands all wants and looks all wonder

At all things the heavens under,

Tiny scorns of smil’d reprovings

That have more of love than lovings,

Mischiefs done with such a winning

Archness, that we prize such sinning,

Breakings dire of plates and glasses,

Graspings small at all that passes,

Pullings off of all that ’s able

To be caught from tray or table;

Silences—small meditations,

Deep as thoughts of cares for nations,

Breaking into wisest speeches,

In a tongue that nothing teaches,

All the thoughts of whose possessing

Must be wooed to light by guessing;

Slumbers—such sweet angel-seemings,

That we ’d ever have such dreamings,

Till from sleep we see thee breaking,

And we ’d always have thee waking;

Wealth for which we know no measure,

Pleasure high above all pleasure,

Gladness brimming over gladness,

Joy in care—delight in sadness,

Loveliness beyond completeness,

Sweetness distancing all sweetness,

Beauty all that beauty may be—

That ’s May Bennett, that ’s my baby.