WHOSE imp art thou, with dimpled cheek,
And curly pate, and merry eye,
And arm and shoulder round and sleek,
And soft and fair?—thou urchin sly!

What boots it who with sweet caresses
First called thee his,—or squire or hind?
Since thou in every wight that passes,
Dost now a friendly play-mate find.

Thy downcast glances, grave, but cunning,
As fringed eye-lids rise and fall;
Thy shyness, swiftly from me running,
Is infantine coquetry all.


But far a-field thou hast not flown;
With mocks and threats, half lisped, half spoken,
I feel thee pulling at my gown,
Of right good will thy simple token.

And thou must laugh and wrestle too,
A mimick warfare with me waging;
To make, as wily lovers do,
Thy after kindness more engaging.

The wilding rose, sweet as thyself,
And new-cropt daisies are thy treasure:
I'd gladly part with worldly pelf
To taste again thy youthful pleasure.

But yet, for all thy merry look,
Thy frisks and wiles, the time is coming
When thou shalt sit in cheerless nook,
The weary spell or horn-book thumbing.


Well; let it be!—through weal and woe,
Thou knowest not now thy future range;
Life is a motley, shifting show,
And thou a thing of hope and change.