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The Nurse

 Such innocent companionship 
Is hers, whether she wake or sleep, 
'Tis scarcely strange her face should wear 
The young child's grave and innocent air.
All the night long she hath by her The quiet breathing, the soft stir, Nor knows how in that tender place The children's angels veil the face.
She wakes at dawn with bird and child To earth new-washed and reconciled, The hour of silence and of dew, When God hath made His world anew.
She sleeps at eve, about the hour Of bedtime for the bird and flower, When daisies, evening primroses, Know that the hour of closing is.
Her daylight thoughts are all on toys And games for darling girls and boys, Lest they should fret, lest they should weep, Strayed from their heavenly fellowship.
She is as pretty and as brown As the wood's children far from town, As bright-eyed, glancing, shy of men, As any squirrel, any wren.
Tender she is to beast and bird, As in her breast some memory stirred Of days when those were kin of hers Who go in feathers and in furs.
A child, yet is the children's law, And rules by love and rules by awe.
And, stern at times, is kind withal As a girl-baby with her doll.
Outside the nursery door there lies The world with all its griefs and sighs, Its needs, its sins, its stains of sense: Within is only innocence.

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