"CHILDHOOD—A stream is seen issuing from a deep cavern, in the side of a craggy and precipitous mountain, whose summit is hidden in clouds. From out the cave glides a Boat, whose golden prow and sides are sculptured into figures of the Hours. Steered by an Angelic Form, and laden with buds and flowers, it bears a laughing Infant, the Voyager, whose varied course the Artist has attempted to delineate. On either hand, the banks of the stream are clothed in luxuriant herbage and flowers. The rising sun bathes the mountains and flowery banks with rosy light.
The dark cavern is emblematic of our earthly origin, and the mysterious Past. The Boat, composed of Figures of the Hours, images the thought, that we are borne on the hours down the Stream of Life. The Boat identifies the subject in each picture. The rosy light of the morning, the luxuriant flowers and plants, are emblems of the joyousness of early life. The close banks, and the limited scope of the scene, indicate the narrow experience of Childhood, and the nature of its pleasures and desires. The Egyptian Lotus, in the foreground of the picture, is symbolical of Human Life. Joyousness and wonder are the characteristic emotions of childhood. 1