"HYMN II. " by Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743 - 1825)
First Publication: Hymns in Prose for Children. by Anna Lætitia Barbauld. London: J. Johnson, 1781. pp. 5-12.
COME, let us go forth into the fields, let us see how the flowers spring, [Page 6] let us listen to the warbling of the birds, and sport ourselves upon the new grass.
The winter is over and gone, the buds come out upon the trees, the crimson blossoms of the peach and the nectarine are seen, and the green leaves sprout.
The hedges are bordered with tufts of primroses, and [Page 7] yellow cowslips that hang down their heads; and the blue violet lies hid beneath the shade.
The young goslings are running upon the green, they are just hatched, their bodies are covered with yellow down; the old ones hiss with anger if any one comes near.
The hen sits upon her nest of straw, she watches [Page 8] patiently the full time, then she carefully breaks the shell, and the young chickens come out.
The lambs just dropt are in the field, they totter by the side of their dams, their young limbs can hardly support their weight.
If you fall, little lambs, you will not be hurt; there is spread under you a carpet [Page 9] of soft grass, it is spread on purpose to receive you.
The butterflies flutter from bush to bush, and open their wings to the warm sun.
The young animals of every kind are sporting about, they feel themselves happy, they are glad to be alive,–they thank him that has made them alive. [Page 10]
They may thank him in their hearts, but we can thank him with our tongues; we are better than they, and can praise him better.
The birds can warble, and the young lambs can bleat; but we can open our lips in his praise, we can speak of all his goodness.
Therefore we will thank [Page 11] him for ourselves, and we will thank him for those that cannot speak.
Trees that blossom, and little lambs that skip about, if you could, you would say how good he is; but you are dumb, we will say it for you.
We will not offer you in sacrifice, but we will offer [Page 12] sacrifice for you, on every hill, and in every green field, we will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and the incense of praise.