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

William Canton b. 1845

Laus Infantium

IN praise of little children I will say

God first made man, then found a better way

For woman, but his third way was the best.

Of all created things, the loveliest

And most divine are children. Nothing here

Can be to us more gracious or more dear.

And though, when God saw all his works were good,

There was no rosy flower of babyhood,

’T was said of children in a later day

That none could enter Heaven save such as they.

The earth, which feels the flowering of a thorn,

Was glad, O little child, when you were born;

The earth, which thrills when skylarks scale the blue,

Soared up itself to God’s own Heaven in you;

And Heaven, which loves to lean down and to glass

Its beauty in each dewdrop on the grass,—

Heaven laughed to find your face so pure and fair,

And left, O little child, its reflex there.