The Baby's Prayer

by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

child   praying at woman's knee

"Lord b'ess papa, mamma, Daisy,"
The baby prayed to-day
"Kitty, Bose, and ole brack Thomas
--What else s'all I say?
I can't fink of nuffin' mo-ah,
(Stoopid work to p'ay!)
Hush' for what I'd like to know, now,
You old Mamma Gray?
Ain't I p'ayed, and p'ayed, and p'ay-ed
Time n' time again?
I've ferget the way to end it --
Why don't you tell me ven?
For whose sake, mamma -- say?
I'm -- so -- s'eepy -- oh, I 'member --
For Pity's sake, Amen!"

Who chides the child? I kiss and hush.
Silent I join the group down-stairs
That rest and linger by the fire
To laugh at Baby's prayers.

"And what did Baby say to-night?"
But low I answer, with grave brow:
"She prayed for Bose, and you and me --
I cannot tell them now

How full the mood the child has drawn
And pressed upon a musing heart!
Amid the happy household chat
I sit like one apart

My thoughts like prayers move solemnly;
"Oh, Lord," I say, "the great, the wise,
The weak, the miserable, are
All children in Thine eyes.

"We take the name of Thy dear Son
Daring, upon a trembling lip;
The cup Thou givest us, we lift,
And shrink, and taste, and sip.

"And try to say, 'For Jesus' sake;'
Dear Lord, the babe is wisest when,
Fearless and clear, she pleads with Thee
'For Pity's sake, Amen.'

"Oh, truer than the sacred phrase
That time from Christian years has spun,
Is he who prays, nor questions if
Pity and Christ are one!"

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