WHEN the summer morning in the sky
Opens like a blossom, pink and pearly,
With the bee, and with the butterfly,
And with the bonny birds that sing so early,
Little blue-eyed, yellow-haired Benita
Trips along the shady woodland ways:
Kiss the little maiden kindly, if you meet her-
She deserves your kisses and your praise.
Timidly she looks about to hearken
'Tis a lonely path the little willing feet
In the early morning have to follow,
To the spring that bubbles, clearly cold and sweet,
Down amongst the mosses in the hollow.
Still behind the trees the shadows darken,
Chill her baby-bosom with a sudden dread
Timidly she looks about to hearken,
Fancying she hears a wild beast's tread !

Where its silver web the spider weaves,
Silver drops like fairy jewels twinkle;
Pushing back the tangle of the leaves,
Face and hands get many a showery sprinkle.
But she does not stop, the little kind Benita,
For her coaties draggled and her dripping shoe;
Only trips along with steps the fleeter,
Smiling at the pretty sparkles of the dew.

In its cradle-bed, not yet awake,
Lies the baby-sister, wan and sickly;
Every single morning, for her sake,
Goes Benita through the woods so quickly.
For the peevish lips are parched with fever,
The little pale face is a piteous sight,
And the water has no coolness to relieve her
That the mother sets beside her bed at night.

Cool and sweet it bubbles in the spring-
Oh, be sure the loving little sister
Hurries back, the healing draught to bring,
Long before the baby can have missed her.
By and by will come a mournful morrow
When she need not rise before the sun;
Then it will be comfort in her sorrow
That she never left this task undone.

Grief is sorest when it brings to mind
Bitter memories for heart's regretting,
Times when we were selfish or unkind,
Times when all the wrong was in forgetting.
Like the little loving child Benita,
Let us do our duty every day;
Gladness then will certainly be sweeter,
Sorrow will the sooner pass away.

St. Nicholas 4 (November 1876): 22-23

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