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The Sculptured Children               TEI-encoded version

"The Sculptured Children"

On Chantrey's Monument at Lichfield1


[In Forget Me Not for 1829 (London, UK: Ackerman, 1829), pp. 11-12: ]

Chantrey's Monument at Lichfield Cathedral

Figure 1.
Chantrey's Monument at Lichfield Cathedral

Thus lay
The gentle babes, thus girdling one another
Within their alabaster innocent arms.
SHAKESPEARE ( Richard III, IV.iii.9-12 )


               Fair images of sleep!
               Hallow’d, and soft, and deep!
0     On whose calm lids the dreamy quiet lies,
               Like moonlight on shut bells
               Of flowers in mossy dells,
     Fill’d with the hush of night and summer skies;

               How many hearts have felt
5               Your silent beauty melt
     Their strength to gushing tenderness away!
               How many sudden tears,
               From depths of buried years
     All freshly bursting, have confess’d your sway!

10               How many eyes will shed
               Still, o’er your marble bed,
     Such drops, from Memory’s troubled fountains wrung!


               While Hope hath blights to bear,
               While Love breathes mortal air,
15     While roses perish ere to glory sprung.

               Yet, from a voiceless home,
               If some sad mother come
     To bend and linger o’er your lovely rest;
               As o’er the cheek’s warm glow,
20               And the soft breathings low
     Of babes, that grew and faded on her breast;

               If then the dovelike tone
               Of those faint murmurs gone,
     O’er her sick sense too piercingly return;
25               If for the soft bright hair,
               And brow and bosom fair,
     And life, now dust, her soul too deeply yearn;

               O gentlest forms! entwin'd
               Like tendrils, which the wind
30     May wave, so clasp’d, but never can unlink;
               Send from your calm profound
               A still small voice, a sound
     Of hope, forbidding that lone heart to sink.

               By all the pure, meek mind
35               In your pale beauty shrined,
     By childhood’s love—too bright a bloom to die!
               O’er her worn spirit shed,
               O fairest, holiest Dead!
     The Faith, Trust, Light, of Immortality!


1. Chantrey's monument resides at Lichfield Cathedral, and one can see a picture of it at their Web site. [Poetess Tradition Editor.] BACK

Date: 1829 (Coding Revisions: 12/30/2005). Author: Felicia Hemans (Coding Revisions: Laura Mandell).
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