FATHER and mother! sacred names and dear;
The sweetest music to the infant ear,
And dearer still to those, a joyous band,
Who sport in childhood’s bright enchanted land.
And when, as years roll on, night follows day,
The young wax old and loved ones pass away,
Through mists of time yet holier and more dear,
“Father and mother” sound to memory’s ear.
The days, the hours, the moments as they speed,
Each crowned by loving thought or word or deed,
Oh, heart’s long-suffering, self-denying! sure
Earth holds no love more true, and none so pure.
Thou happy child whom a good God hath given
A parents’ shelt’ring home, that earthly heaven,
Where ceaseless care, where tireless love and true,
Nurse thy young life as flowers are nursed by dew.
E’en as the flowers, for the dear debt they owe,
Bloom, and sweet odors in rich meed bestow,
Let the fair blossoms of thy love and duty
Cluster about thy home in fragrant beauty.
Never from eye or lip be seen or heard
The sullen glance or the rebellious word,
And never wilfully or heedless pain
The tender hearts that cannot wound again.
But fond caress, sweet smile and loving tone,
Obedience prompt and glad, be thine alone,
For filial love, like mercy, is twice blest;
While to the parent of earth’s joys the best,
Richer than treasures of the land or sea,
It wins God’s blessing, O my child, for thee!