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Musings in Maoriland


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Up-a-daisy! said his mother
  When the babe was three months old;
"Up-a-daisy!" and she'd lift him
  From the rug whereon he rolled.
Soon the boy began to prattle,
  And his lips would strive to say
"Up-a-daisy!" but he couldn't
  Master more than "Up-a-day!"

"Up-a-daisy!" quaint expression
  Coined in some old nurse's brain,
As she tossed some merry baby
  Up and down and up again;
But our boy, unversed in diction,
  Takes it in another way—
Help, assistance, comfort, succour,
  Seeks he in his "Up-a-day!"

page 274

Months flew by—the boy grew stronger:
  Childhood's little griefs and cares
Marr'd some merry, merry moments;
  Stupid stools and naughty chairs
Would persist in falling o'er him;
  And, as on the ground he lay,
He would kick and scream and scramble—
  "Mamma, mamma, Up-a-Day!"

Onward in the march of progress,
  Busy hands and toddling feet,
Cosy cradle superseded
  By the cot so snug and neat;
Mischief-making little meddler,
  Wearied out at twilight gray,
Clinging to the skirts of mamma:
  "Me so tired," then "Up-a-Day!"

Oh, the golden dreams of childhood!
  Oh, the visions babies see!
After they have lisped "Our Faader,"
  Nodding upon mother's knee;
Cares and troubles all forgotten
  Till the morn's first diamond ray
Opes the rosebuds and the red lips,
  And the eyelids—"Up-a-day!"

page 275

Once again the little despot
  Rules the house with iron will,
Jumps and crows and screams and scrambles—
  Not a single moment still;
Merry, rippling, silver laughter,
  Sunshine followed soon by spray,
Troubles crowd again upon him—
  "Mamma, Mamma, Up-a-day!"

Now he falls across the fender,
  Now he tumbles on the stairs,
Screams and sobs and runs to mother
  With his troubles and his cares.
"Oh, you naughty boy, what ails you?
  Sonny, do be quiet, pray!
Dere now, dere now, what's the matter?"
  "Mamma, mamma, up-a-day!"

"Papa, turn and play me sojers,
  Me will shoot oo with my dun."
Fierce the onslaught, papa's vanquished,
  Baby has the victory won.
Ah! the fate of war is cruel:
  Baby's gun breaks in the fray—
"Oh! my dun, my dun is broken;
  Mamma, mamma, up-a-day?"

page 276

Babyhood is manhood's mirror:
  Joys and sorrows, smiles and tears
Find their birth-place in the cradle,
  Growing stronger with the years;
"Mother!" is our cry in spring-time;
  But, when Winter holds his sway,
From the depths we raise our voices—
  "Father, Father, Up-a-day!"

Ah! the time will come, my darling,
  When the hearts that shield thee now
Shall be silent, and Time's furrows
  Will leave traces on thy brow;
When the shadows fall upon thee
  Turn thine eyes from Earth away,
Lift thy voice and cry with fervour—
  "Father, Father, Up-a-day!"