The Childless Mother
1700-1702 Oft in midnight visions Ghostly by my bed Stands a Father's image, Pale discrowned head:-- --I forsook thee, Father! Was no child to thee! Child-forsaken Mother, Now 'tis so with me. Oft I see the brother, Baby born to woe, Crouching by the church-wall From the bloodhound-foe. Evil crown'd of evil, Heritage of strife! Mine, an heirless sceptre: His, an exile life! --O my vanish'd darlings, From the cradle torn! Dewdrop lives, that never Saw their second morn! Buds that fell untimely,-- Till one blossom grew; As I watch'd its beauty, Fading whilst it blew. Thou wert more to me, Love, More than words can tell: All my remnant sunshine Died in one farewell. Midnight-mirk before me Now my life goes by, For the baby faces As in vain I cry. O the little footsteps On the nursery floor! Lispings light and laughter I shall hear no more! Eyes that gleam'd at waking Through their silken bars; Starlike eyes of children, Now beyond the stars! Where the murder'd Mary Waits the rising sign, They are laid in darkness, Little lambs of mine. Only this can comfort: Safe from earthly harms Christ the Saviour holds them In His loving arms:-- Spring eternal round Him, Roses ever fair:-- Will His mercy set them All beside me there? Will their Angels guide me Through the golden gate? --Wait a little, children! Mother, too, must wait!
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