Letitia Elizabeth Landon


Infanticide In Madagascar

by Letitia Elizabeth Landon

A luxury of summer green
Is on the southern plain,
And water-flags, with dewy screen,
Protect the ripening grain.
Upon the sky is not a cloud
To mar the golden glow,
Only the palm-tree is allowed
To fling its shade below.

And silvery, 'mid its fertile brakes,
The winding river glides,
And every ray in heaven makes
Its mirror of its tides.
And yet it is a place of death --
A place of sacrifice;
Heavy with childhood's parting breath,
Weary with childhood's cries.

The mother takes her little child --
Its face is like her own;
The cradle of her choice is wild --
Why is it left alone?
The trampling of the buffalo
Is heard among the reeds,
And sweeps around the carrion crow
That amid carnage feeds.

O! outrage upon mother Earth
To yonder azure sky;
A destined victim from its birth,
The child is left to die.
We shudder that such crimes disgrace
E'en yonder savage strand;
Alas! and hath such crime no trace
Within our English land?

Pause, ere we blame the savage code
That such strange horror keeps;
Perhaps within her sad abode
The mother sits and weeps,
And thinks how oft those eyelids smiled
Whose close she may not see,
And says, O, would to God, my child,
I might have died for thee!

Such law of bloodshed to annul
Should be the Christian's toil;
May not such law be merciful,
To that upon our soil?
Better the infant eyes should close
Upon the first sweet breath,
Than weary for their last repose,
A living life in death!

Look on the children of our poor,
On many an English child:
Better that it had died secure
By yonder river wild.
Flung careless on the waves of life,
From childhood's earliest time,
They struggle, one perpetual strife,
With hunger and with crime.

Look on the crowded prison-gate --
Instructive love and care
In early life had saved the fate
That waits on many there.
Cold, selfish, shunning care and costs
The poor are left unknown;
I say, for every soul thus lost,
We answer with our own.


The Poetical Works Of Miss Landon
Copyright 1853
Phillips, Sampson, And Co.
110 Washington Street