Little Leonard's Last
by Caroline Bowles Southey
Good night! good night! I go to sleep, *
Murmured the little child;
And O, the ray of heaven that broke
On the sweet lips that faintly spoke
good night, and smiled!
That angel smile! that loving look
From the dim, closing eyes!
The peace of that pure brow! But there --
Ay, on that brow, so young, so fair
An awful shadow lies.
The gloom of evening, of the boughs
That o'er yon window wave --
Nay, nay, within these silent walls
A deeper, darker shadow falls,
The twilight of the grave --
The twilight of the grave; for still
Fast comes the fluttering breath;
One fading smile, one look of love,
A murmur, as from brooding dove,
Good night: -- and this is death!
O, who hath called thee
Mild angel! most benign!
Could mother's fondest lullaby
Have laid to rest more blissfully
That sleeping babe, than thine?
Yet this is death -- the doom for all
Of Adam's race decreed;
But this poor lamb, this little one,
What had the guiltless creature done?
Unhappy heart, take heed!
Though HE is merciful as just
Who hears that fond appeal,
He will not break the bruised reed,
He will not search the wounds that bleed;
He only wounds to heal.
Let little children come to me,
He cried, and to his breast
Folded them tenderly; today
He calls thine unshorn lamb away
To that securest rest.
* The real exclamation of a child, as he died.
Source:The Floral Wreath Of Autumn Flowers
Detroit: Kerr, Doughty and Lapham