Paul Hamilton Hayne

Baby’s First Word

WE watched our baby day by day,
With earnest expectation,
To hear his infant lips unclose
In vague articulation.

But weeks, nay weary months, passed on;
His last wee tooth had broken
From rosy gums, yet not a word,
Not one had baby spoken.

"O Rol!" I cried, "it cannot be
A child so quick and clever,
Who hears ('tis plain he hears our talk),
Should thus stay dumb forever!"

Rol answered sharply, vexed and red,
"What wretched nonsense, Jenny!
I never could have dreamed, my dear,
You'll prate like such a ninny!"

(Yes, that's the term, I must confess,
By which, with judgment narrow,
He dared for once, just once, you know,
To call his "winsome marrow.")

But what cared I? since as I live,
True as my name is Jenny,
From out the cradle clear and loud,
Came back the bad word "Ninny!"

Thence uprose baby all aglee,
His peaceful slumbers routed,
And thrice that naughty, naughty word
He spoke, nay, almost shouted!

Rol, glancing at my startled eyes,
His mirth could scarcely smother.
But oh! to think the rogue's first word
Should thus abuse his mother!

English Poetry - E-mail