Dear one ! I cannot grieve that thou art dead,—1
Yet is my heart not cold nor harden’d grown ;2
Most beautiful ! for thee no tears I shed,3
Though tears,—I, for a lighter sense, have known.4
Frail was the “ silver cord” which held thee here,5
Nought but the breath of chill mortality ;6
Thy spirit was not bound to this low sphere,7
By the false hopes which make it hard to die ; —8
Sweet child ! thou art but from a strange land riven,9
And bid to take thy homeward flight to Heaven !10
Not thus at other ages is it found,11
For life has weeds, whose gaudy heads uprear,12
And binding us with earthly tendrils round,13
Only grows ranker with each added year.14
By thy young mother to the mirror raised,15
Who, at thy beauty, all forgot her own,16
And with pet words thy features fondly praised,17
And music found in each imperfect tone ; —18
When she, to gaze, threw back thy sunny hair,19
Thou hadst no thought of the round earthworm’s fare !20
And she doth mourn thee now with bitter tears ! —21
Her lot has been of all that love can know,22
She doth not ponder over coming years,23
Or doth forget that woman’s weal or woe 24
Rests on a single chance.—Or had she learn’d 25
For thee, a prize in love’s strange lottery ?26
Could she secure thee from love unreturn’d,27
Or cold, unloved, unloving destiny ?28
Victims to such have deemed the grave could bless,29
And the sleek earthworm’s kiss—a dear caress !30
And pain did reach thee, in her warm embrace ; —31
With childhood’s woof is woven sorrow’s thread ;32
But safe, the turfy couch—thy resting-place,33
And holier, sweet one, than thy cradle bed.34
Would she recal thee,—were there fabled spell ?35
No,—let her think (and she will kiss the rod)36
That now thy spirit, purified, shall dwell 37
E’en in the presence of thy Saviour God !38
Therefore, sweet child, for thee no tears I shed,39
Therefore I cannot grieve that thou art dead !40