A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Child's Last Sleep" by Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) Records of Woman: With Other Poems. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, & London: T. Cadell, 1828, second edition. pp. 278-279.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


[Page 278] 

THE CHILD'S LAST SLEEP.

SUGGESTED BY A MONUMENT OF CHANTREY'S.


THOU sleepest–but when wilt thou wake, fair child?–
When the fawn awakes in the forest wild?
When the lark's wing mounts with the breeze of morn?
When the first rich breath of the rose is born?–
Lovely thou sleepest, yet something lies
Too deep and still on thy soft-seal'd eyes,
Mournful, tho' sweet, is thy rest to see–
When will the hour of thy rising be?

Not when the fawn wakes, not when the lark
On the crimson cloud of the morn floats dark–

[Page 279] 

Grief with vain passionate tears hath wet
The hair, shedding gleams from thy pale brow yet;
Love with sad kisses, unfelt, hath press'd
Thy meek dropt eyelids and quiet breast;
And the glad spring, calling out bird and bee,
Shall colour all blossoms, fair child! but thee.

Thou'rt gone from us, bright one!–that thou shouldst die,
And life be left to the butterfly! *
Thou'rt gone, as a dew-drop is swept from the bough–
Oh! for the world where thy home is now!
How may we love but in doubt and fear,
How may we anchor our fond hearts here;
How should e'en joy but a trembler be,
Beautiful dust! when we look on thee?


[Page 279]

* A butterfly, as if resting on a flower, is sculptured on the monument.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom