John Hartley (1839-1917 / England)
To My Daughter On Her Birthday
Darling child, to thee I owe,
More than others here will know;
Thou hast cheered my weary days,
With thy coy and winsome ways.
When my heart has been most sad,
Smile of thine has made me glad;
In return, I wish for thee,
Health and sweet felicity.
May thy future days be blest,
With all things the world deems best.
If perchance the day should come,
Thou does leave thy childhood's home;
Bound by earth's most sacred ties,
In another's life to share,
Wedded joys and worldly care;
May thy partner worthy prove,--
Richest in thy constant love.
Strong in faith and honour, just,--
With brave heart on which to trust.
One, to whom when troubles come,
And the days grow burdensome,
Thou canst fly, with confidence
In his love's plenipotence.
And if when some years have flown,
Sons and daughters of your own
Bless your union, may they be
Wellsprings of pure joy to thee.
And when age shall line thy brow,
And thy step is weak and slow,--
And the end of life draws near
May'st thou meet it without fear;
Undismayed with earth's alarms,--
Sleeping,--to wake in Jesus' arms.
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