Oh, what pleasure do you take
To hear the nurse discovery make,
How the nose, the lip, the eye,
The forehead full of majesty,
Shews the father, how to this
The mother’s beauty added is;
And after all with gentle numbers,
To woo the infant into slumbers.
And these delights he yields you now,
The swathe and cradle this doth show;
But hereafter, when his force
Shall wield the rattle and the horse,
When his ven’tring tongue shall speak
All synalaephaes,* and shall break
This word short off, and make that two,
Prattling as obligations do,
‘Twill ravish the delighted sense
To view these sports of innocence,
And make the wisest dote upon
Such pretty imperfection.
These hopeful cradles promise such
Future goodness, and so much,
That they prevent my prayers, and I
Must wish but for formality.
I wish religion timely be
Taught him with his ABC
I wish him good and constant health
His [parents’] learning, but more wealth.
May he have many and fast friends,
Meaning good will, not private ends
[…] Have no sad cares to break his sleep
Nor other cause, than now, to weep.
May he ne’er live to be again
What he is now, a child; may pain,
If it do visit, as a guest
Only call in, not dare to rest.
4 November 2009 ~ Hamilton.
Glossary of Terms.
synalaephaes. n. “confused sounds”
Cartwright, William. “To Mr. W.B., at the Birth of His First Child.” Ben Jonson and the Cavalier Poets. Ed. Hugh MacLean. New York: Norton, 1974. 282-283.