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Tucking the Baby In

89

Sh! sh! sh!

Lu-la, lu-la lu-la lu-la lu! Underneaf de silver Southern moon;

Rock-a-by! hush-a-by!

Mammy's little baby, Mammy's little Alabama Coon.

Hattie Starr (18

TUCKING THE BABY IN

The dark-fringed eyelids slowly close

On eyes serene and deep;
Upon my breast my own sweet child

Has gently dropped to sleep;
I kiss his soft and dimpled cheek,

I kiss his rounded chin,
Then lay him on his little bed,

And tuck my baby in.

How fair and innocent he lies;

Like some small angel strayed,
His face still warmed by God's own smile,

That slumbers unafraid;
Or like some new embodied soul,

Still pure from taint of sin-
My thoughts are reverent as I stoop

To tuck my baby in.

What toil must stain these tiny hands

That now lie still and white? What shadows creep across the face

That shines with morning light? These wee pink shoeless feet-how far

Shall go their lengthening tread, When they no longer cuddled close

May rest upon this bed?

O what am I that I should train

An angel for the skies;
Or mix the potent draught that feeds

The soul within these eyes?

I reach him up to the sinless Hands

Before his cares begin,Great Father, with Thy folds of love, O tuck my baby in.

Curtis May (18

"JENNY WI' THE AIRN TEETH”

What a plague is this o' mine,

Winna stock an e'e;
Though I hap him o'er the heid,

As cosy as can be.
Sleep an' let me to my wark-

A' thae claes to airn-
Jenny wi' the airn teeth,

Come an' tak’ the bairn!

Tak’ him to your

ain den,
Whaur the bogie bides,
But first put baith your big teeth

In his wee plump sides;
Gie
your
auld

gray pow a shake,
Rive him frae my grup,
Tak’ him whaur nae kiss is gaun

When he waukens up.

Whatna noisc is that I hear

Coomin' doon the street?
Weel I ken the dump, dump,

()' her beetle feet;
Mercy me! she's at the door!

Hear her list the sneck;
Wheesht, an' cuddle mammy noo,

Closer roun' the neck.

Jenny wi' the airn teeth,

The bairn has aff his claes;
Sleepin' safe an' soun', I think-

Dinna touch his taes.

Cuddle Doon

91

Sleepin' bairns are no for you,

Ye may turn aboot,
An’tak' awa' wee Tam next door-

I hear him screichin' oot.

Dump, dump, awa' she gangs

Back the road she cam',
I hear her at the ither door,

Speirin' after Tam;
He's a crabbit, greetin' thing--

The warst in a' the toon,
Little like my ain wee wean-

Losh, he's sleepin' soun'!

Mithers hae an awsu' wark

Wi’ their bairns at nicht, Chappin' on the chair wi' tangs,

To gie the rogues a fricht; Aulder bairns are fleyed wi' less,

Weel eneuch we ken, Bigger bogies, bigger Jennies, Frichten muckle men.

Alexander Anderson (1845-1909)

CUDDLE DOON

The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht

Wi’ muckle faucht an' din;
“O, try an’sleep, ye waukrife rogues,

Your father's comin' in."
They never heed a word I speak;

I try to gie a froon,
But aye I hap them up, an' cry,

“O baisnies, cuddle doon.”

Wee Jamie wi' the curly heid

He aye sleeps next the wa'-
Bangs up an' cries, "I want a piece;"

The rascal starts them a’.

I rin an’ fetch them pieces, drinks,

They stop awee the soun';
Then draw the blankets up an' cry,

“Noo, weanies, cuddle doon."

But ere five minutes gang, wee Rab

Cries oot, frae 'neath the claes,
“Mither, mak’ Tam gie ower at once-

He's kittlin' wi' his taes.”
The mischief's in that Tam for tricks,

He'd bother half the toon;
But aye I hap them up an' cry,

“O bairnies, cuddle doon.”

At length they hear their father's fit,

An', as he steeks the door, They turn their faces to the wa',

While Tam pretends to snore. “Hae a' the weans been gude?” he asks,

As he pits aff his shoon; “The bairnies, John, are in their beds,

An' lang since cuddled doon."

An' just afore we bed oorsel's,

We look at oor wec lambs;
Tam has his airm roun’ wee Rab's neck,

An' Rab his airm roun' Tam's.
I lift wee Jamie up the bed,

An' as I straik each croon,
I whisper, till my heart fills up,

“O bairnies, cuddle doon.”

The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht

Wi' mirth that's dear to me;
But sune the big warl's cark an' care

Will quaten doon their glee.
Yet, come what will to ilka ane,

May He who sits aboon Aye whisper, though their pows be bauld, “O bairnies, cuddle doon."

Alexander Anderson (1845-1909]

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'Tis bedtime; say your hymn, and bid “Good-night;
God bless Mamma, Papa, and dear ones all.”
Your half-shut eyes beneath your eyelids fall,
Another minute, you will shut them quite.
Yes, I will carry you, put out the light,
And tuck you up, although you are so tall!
What will you give me, sleepy one, and call
My wages, if I settle you all right?

I laid her golden curls upon my arm,
I drew her little feet within my hand,
Her rosy palms were joined in trustful bliss,
Her heart next mine beat gently, soft and warm
She nestled to me, and, by Love's command,
Paid me my precious wages--"Baby's Kiss."

Francis Robert St. Clair Erskine (1833-1890)

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