The First Tooth
Through the house what busy joy
Just because the infant boy
Has a tiny tooth to show!
I have got a double row,
All as white and all as small;
Yet no one cares for mine at all.
He can say but half a word,
Yet that single sound’s preferr’d
To all the words that I can say
In the longest summer day.
He cannot walk; yet if he put
With mimic motion out his foot,
As if he thought he were advancing,
It’s prized more than my best dancing.
Sister, I know you jesting are,
Yet O! of jealousy beware.
If the smallest seed should be
In your mind, of jealousy,
It will spring and it will shoot
Till it bear the baneful fruit.
I remember you, my dear,
Young as is this infant here.
There was not a tooth of those
Your pretty even ivory rows,
But as anxiously was watch’d
Till it burst its shell new-hatch’d
As if it a phoenix were,
Or some other wonder rare.
So when you began to walk—
So when you began to talk—
As now, the same encomiums pass’d
‘Tis not fitting this should last
Longer than our infant days;
A child is fed with milk and praise.
From Poetry for Children, by Charles and Mary LambLondon: J.M. Dent & Co., 1898.