Bayard Taylor image

Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878


The Father

by Bayard Taylor

The fateful hour, when Death stood by
And stretched his threatening hand in vain,
Is over now, and Life's first cry
Speaks feeble triumph through its pain.

But yesterday, and thee the Earth
Inscribed not on her mighty scroll:
To-day she opes the gate of birth,
And gives the spheres another soul.

But yesterday, no fruit from me
The rising winds of Time had hurled:
To-day, a father, -- can it be
A child of mine is in the world?

I look upon the little frame,
As helpless on my arm it lies:
Thou giv'st me, child, a father's name,
God's earliest name in Paradise.

Like Him, creator too I stand:
His Power and Mystery seem more near;
Thou giv'st me honor in the land,
And giv'st my life duration here.

But love, to-day, is more than pride;
Love sees his star of triumph shine,
For Life nor Death can now divide
The souls that wedded breathe in thine:

Mine and thy mother's, whence arose
The copy of my face in thee;
And as thine eyelids first unclose,
My own young eyes look up to me.

Look on me, child, once more, once more,
Even with those weak, unconscious eyes;
Stretch the small hands that help implore;
Salute me with thy wailing cries!

This is the blessing and the prayer
A father's sacred place demands:
Ordain me, darling, for thy care,
And lead me with thy helpless hands!


The Poet's Journal
Copyright 1863
Ticknor and Fields, Boston