To Lalla, reading my verses topsy turvy

Darling little Cousin,
With your thoughtful look
Reading topsy-turvy
From a printed book

English hieroglyphics,
More mysterious
To you than Egyptian
Ones would be to us;

Leave off for a minute
Studying, and say
What is the impression
That those marks convey.

Only solemn silence
And a wondering smile:
But your eyes are lifted
Unto mine the while.

In their gaze so steady
I can surely trace
That a happy spirit
Lighteth up your face;

Tender happy spirit,
Innocent and pure,
Teaching more than science
And than learning more.

How should I give answer
To that asking look?
Darling little Cousin,
Go back to your book.

Read on: if you knew it,
You have cause to boast:
You are much the wiser
Though I know the most.

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