Occasioned by an expression uttered
by a mother, over her firstborn
By James Smith, 1865
"Lord, bless my babe!" the youthful mother cried,
And fondly pressed her infant to her breast;
Then offered it to Him, who loved and died,
To give poor suffering mothers peace and rest.
It was her first-born, and she loved it well,
Admired each feature, full of strange delight;
Then turned the kindness of her God to tell,
Whose tender care had blessed her with the sight.
Perhaps she thought, "Ah! If I had been blind,
And felt my loved one on my bosom lie,
But could not see its face — my God, how kind
To let me see my baby's lovely eye!
Its little head had slumbered on my breast,
Its velvet cheek awakened sweet surprise;
Its ruby lips a mother's bosom prest,
Who longed to see it with her poor blind eyes.
"Or, if I had been deaf, and could not hear
Its little voice which thrills through all my soul.
How often would I have shed the bitter tear,
And found it hard my feelings to control.
"To know it prattled, pleasing all around,
And calling Mother with an angel's voice.
Unable to drink in the charming sound,
How could I with a mother's joy rejoice?
"But I have eyes to see my darling child,
And ears to listen to its feeblest cry;
My heart has danced already, while it smile,
And I have seen strange beauty in its eye!
Or, had my babe been blind, and could not see
Its mother's face, or nature's beauties bright;
How painful and distressing unto me,
Its sightless eye-balls destitute of light!
"Or, if it had been deaf, and could not hear
My voice, which seeks to soothe and hush its cries;
That were a burden I could scarcely bear,
Though to complain, in me, would be unwise.
"But my sweet babe has sight and hearing too,
Its senses and its members are complete;
The goodness of my God in this I view,
And lay my loved one at my Savior's feet.
"I do feel grateful, O God of love!
Accept the praises of my thankful heart;
And let me, though a sinner, daily prove,
The peace Your presence only can impart.
"Lord, bless my babe! Your daughter let it be;
In early life convert it by Your Word:
Oh, may it soon Your great salvation see,
And own You as its Savior and its Lord!
"This youthful mother offers up her child,
Savior, accept and fill it with Your love.
May it be holy, gentle, loving, mild,
And all the riches of Your mercy prove.
"Teach me to train it in Your holy ways,
And early lead it to Your gracious throne;
Oh, let my babe show forth my Savior's praise,
And by it, may Your holy will be done!
"I would not nurse it for the world or sin.
Or see it prove an enemy to Thee;
I'll early try its little heart to win,
And pray that it may consecrated be.
"It was Your gift, I love it for Your sake,
And hope to see it live Your name to fear;
Mother and babe into your keeping take,
And all through life, oh, may we find You near!
"Nor let my child assume my Savior's place;
To Him, my warmest love is ever due;
Blessed Spirit, daily fill my mind with grace,
That Jesus' glory I may still pursue.
"Lord, bless my babe, and spare it to me still,
Healthy and strong, to comfort my fond heart;
Oh, may it walk by Your preceptive will,
And in Your service, all its powers exert.
"Tis Yours, created by Your power alone,
As Yours, I wish to treat it day by day;
Oh, may Your precious blood its sins atone,
And from its spirit purge each stain away.
"Accept my feeble praise for mercies given,
And keep me near your side through all my way;
Conduct and teach me until I enter Heaven,
Nor let me from Your holy precepts stray.
"A mother's heart, before a Savior's throne,
Would thus my fondest wishes now express;
To me be all Your tender mercy shown,
And do, dear Savior — do my baby bless!
"You had a mother once, when here on earth:
You know how anxious is a mother's heart;
Oh, grant, do grant my child a second birth,
Your Holy Spirit to her soul impart.
"A mother's tears, are precious in Your sight,
A mother's prayers, You surely will receive;
Oh, fill a mother's breast with joyous light,
And to my darling girl, Your blessing give!
"You, You are worthy — honor to receive,
The highest honor earth or Heaven can raise;
Let all who from your fullness, grace receive,
In one harmonious anthem sound your praise!"