Adieu to Mabel, by Joseph Ashby-Sterry

Bryce Cameron Liston - Sweetness and Light
Bryce Cameron Liston – Sweetness and Light – from

The poet gives his farewell to a lively girl aged ten. Why does she need to grow, why can’t she remain a child? He will never forget her as she looks now. But she will grow into a lovely teenager.

A D I E U   T O   M A B E L.
A Young Lady Aged Ten.

GOOD-BYE, little shock-headed rosy-checked May,
Farewell to your tales and your teaching:
Good-bye to your songs and your fairy-like play,
Adieu to your prattle and preaching!

Those eloquent sermons we heard with surprise,
From lips so enthrallingly simple:
You blinded our reason with light from your eyes,
And vanquished our hearts with a dimple!

Why can’t you remain a sweet ruddy-lipped child,
With bright tangled tresses free-flowing?
To carelessly carol bewitchingly wild,
For pray what’s the use, pet, of growing?

Your laughter has never been saddened by sighs,
You wot not of care or of sorrow,
And tears have ne’er flooded your honest grey eyes
For grief that may come on the morrow.

Good-bye, then, to sweet little sunny-haired pet.
She goes with our best wishes laden:
The light-hearted child we can never forget,
Will live in the lovable maiden!

Source of the poem: Joseph Ashby-Sterry, Boudoir Ballads, London: Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly (1876).

Previously published on Agapeta, 2018/08/14.

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