O thou whose care sustained my infant years,
And taught my prattling lip each note of love;
Whose soothing voice breathed comfort to my fears,
And round my brow hope’s brightest garland wove;
To thee my lay is due, the simple song,
Which Nature gave me at life’s opening day;
To thee these rude, these untaught strains belong,
Whose heart indulgent will not spurn my lay.
O say, amid this wilderness of life,
What bosom would have throbbed like thine for me?
Who would have smiled responsive?—who in grief,
Would e’er have felt, and, feeling, grieved like thee?
Who would have guarded, with a falcon-eye,
Each trembling footstep or each sport of fear?
Who would have marked my bosom bounding high,
And clasped me to her heart, with love’s bright tear?
Who would have hung around my sleepless couch,
And fanned, with anxious hand, my burning brow?
Who would have fondly pressed my fevered lip,
In all the agony of love and wo?
None but a mother—none but one like thee,
Whose bloom has faded in the midnight watch;
Whose eye, for me, has lost its witchery,
Whose form has felt disease’s mildew touch.
Yes, thou hast lighted me to health and life,
By the bright lustre of thy youthful bloom—
Yes, thou hast wept so oft o’er every grief,
That wo hath traced thy brow with marks of gloom.
O then, to thee, this rude and simple song,
Which breathes of thankfulness and love for thee,
To thee, my mother, shall this lay belong,
Whose life is spent in toil and care for me.