The Mother by Caroline Meysey-Wigley Clive

I feel within myself a life
That holds ’gainst death a feeble strife;
They say ’tis destined that the womb
Shall be its birthplace and its tomb.
O child! if it be so, and thou
Thy native world must never know,
Thy Mother’s tears will mourn the day
When she must kiss thy Death‐born face.
But oh! how lightly thou wilt pay
The forfeit due from Adam’s race!
Thou wilt have lived, but not have wept,
Have died, and yet have known no pain;
And sin’s dark presence will have swept
Across thy soul, yet left no stain.
Mine is thy life; my breath thy breath:
I only feel the dread, the woe;
And in thy sickness or thy death,
Thy Mother bears the pain, not thou.

Life nothing means for thee, but still
It is a living thing, I feel;
A sex, a shape, a growth are thine,
A form and human face divine;
A heart with passions wrapp’d therein,
A nature doom’d, alas! to sin;
A mind endow’d with latent fire,
To glow, unfold, expand, aspire;
Some likeness from thy father caught,
Or by remoter kindred taught;
Some faultiness of mind or frame,
To wake the bitter sense of shame;
Some noble passions to unroll,
The generous deed, the human tear;
Some feelings which thy Mother’s soul
Has pour’d on thine, while dwelling near.
All this must past unbloom’d away
To worlds remote from earthly day;
Worlds whither we by paths less brief,
Are journeying on through joy and grief,
And where thy Mother, now forlorn,
May learn to known her child unborn;
Oh, yes! created thing, I trust
Thou too wilt rise with Adams’s dust.

Nov. 1842.

From: Clive, Caroline, Poems, 1872, Longmans, Green and Co: London, pp. 46-47.
(http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/vwwp/view?docId=VAB7035&chunk.id=d1e2157&brand=vwwp&doc.view=0&anchor.id=#VAB7035-048)

Date: 1842

By: Caroline Meysey-Wigley Clive (1801-1872)

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