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A Birthday. Rhymes and Jingles by Mary Mapes Dodge for children

Old man with the hour-glass, halt! halt! I pray—
Don't you see you are taking my children away?
My own little babies who came long ago,
You stole them, old man with the beard white as snow!

My beautiful babies, so bonny and bright!
Where have you carried them far out of sight?
Oh, dimpled their cheeks were, and sunny their hair!
But I cannot find them; I've searched everywhere.

My three-year-old toddlers, they shouted in glee;
They sported about me; they sat on my knee.
Oh, their prattle and laughter were silvery rain!
Old man, must I list for their voices in vain?

They were here; they were gone while their kisses were warm.
I scarce knew the hour when they slipped from my arm—
Oh! where was I looking when peerless and sweet,
They followed the track of your echoless feet?

My brave little school-boys who ran in and out,
And lifted the air with their song and their shout;
My boys on the coldest days ever aglow,
My dear, romping school-boys who bothered me so.

There were two of them then; and one of the two—
Ah! I never was watchful enough—followed you.
My chubby-faced darling, my kite-flying pet—
Alack! all his playthings are lying here yet.

And the other. O Time! do not take him away!
For a few precious years, I implore, let him stay.
I love him—I need him—my blessing and joy!
You have had all the rest: leave me one little boy!

He halts! He will stop! No; the fall of the sand
In the hour-glass deceived me. It seemed at a stand.
But whom have we here? Jamie! Harry! how? why
Just as many as ever—and Time passing by?

I can hardly believe it. But surely it's clear
My babies, my toddlers, my school-boys are here!
And I've two great big fellows (one lithe and one tall)
Besides all the rest—and more precious than all,

Jamie, my bouncer, my man-boy, my pride!
Harry, my sunbeam, whatever betide;
Both of them, all of them, dozens in two—
Crowds of my children are standing in view!

Move on, then, O Time! I have nothing to say,
You have left me far more than you've taken away.
And yet I would whisper a word ere you go:
You've a year of my Harry's—the last one, you know—

How does it rank among those that have flown?
Was it worthily used when he called it his own?
God filled it with happiness, comfort, and health—
Did my darling use rightly its Love-given wealth?

No answer in words. Yet it really did seem
That the sand sparkled lightly—the scythe sent a gleam.
Is it answer and promise? God grant it be so,
From that silent old man with the beard white as snow.

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