Death of an Infant

Original Text: 
Sigourney, L. H. Pocahontas, and Other Poems (London: Robert Tyas, 1841): 71. Internet Archive
2And dash'd it out. There was a tint of rose
3On cheek and lip. He touched the veins with ice,
4And the rose faded.
5                        Forth from those blue eyes
6There spake a wishful tenderness, a doubt
7Whether to grieve or sleep, which innocence
8Alone may wear. With ruthless haste he bound
9The silken fringes of those curtaining lids
10For ever.
11        There had been a murmuring sound,
12With which the babe would claim its mother's ear,
13Charming her even to tears. The spoiler set
14The seal of silence.
15                        But there beam'd a smile,
16So fix'd, so holy, from that cherub brow,
17Death gazed, and left it there. He dar'd not steal
18The signet-ring of heaven.


1] "This little poem has been inserted by mistake in one of the American editions of the late Mrs. Hemans. Though this is accounted, by the real author, as a high honour, it is still proper to state that it was originally composed at Hartford, in the winter of 1824, and comprised in a volume of poems published in Boston in 1827. Should other testimony be necessary, it may be mentioned that a letter from Mrs. Hemans, to a friend in this country, pointing out some poems in that volume which pleased her, designated, among others, the 'Death of an Infant.'" Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: