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Elegy on the Death of a Child

James Hogg 1770 (Ettrick, Scotland) – 1835 (Ettrick, Scotland)



Fair was thy blossom, tender flower,
That open'd like the rose in May,
Though nursed beneath the chilly shower
Of fell regret, for love's decay.

How oft thy mother heaved the sigh
O'er wreaths of honour early shorn,
Before thy sweet and guiltless eye
Had open'd on the dawn of morn!

How oft, above thy lowly bed,
When all in silence slumber'd low,
The fond and filial tear was shed,
Thou child of love, of shame, and woe!

Her wrong'd but gentle bosom burn'd
With joy thy opening bloom to see;
The only breast that o'er thee yearn'd;
The only heart that cared for thee.

Oft her young eye, with tear-drops bright,
Pleaded with Heaven for her sweet child,
When faded dreams of past delight
O'er recollection wander'd wild.

Fair was thy blossom, bonnie flower,
Fair as the softest wreaths of spring,
When late I saw thee seek the bower
In peace thy morning hymn to sing.

Thy little foot across the lawn
Scarce from the primrose press'd the dew;
I thought the spirit of the dawn
Before me to the greenwood flew.

E'en then the shaft was on the wing,
Thy spotless soul from earth to sever,
A tear of pity wet the string
That twang'd, and seal'd thy doom for ever.

I saw thee late, the emblem fair
Of beauty, innocence, and truth,
Start tiptoe on the verge of air,
'Twixt childhood and unstable youth;

But now I see thee stretch'd at rest:
To break that rest shall wake no morrow -
Pale as the grave-flower on thy breast!
Poor child of love, of shame, and sorrow!

May thy long sleep be sound and sweet;
Thy visions fraught with bliss to be;
And long the daisy, emblem meet,
Shall shed its earliest tear o'er thee!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:34 min read
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James Hogg

James Hogg was a Scottish poet and novelist who wrote in both Scots and English. more…

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