Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BEATEN TO DEATH, by CAROLINE CLIVE



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BEATEN TO DEATH, by            
First Line: At depth of night, this thought on home had shone
Last Line: Was dying through two hours -- beaten to death.
Alternate Author Name(s): V; Meysey-wigley, Caroline
Subject(s): Death - Children; Murder; Teaching & Teachers; Death - Babies; Educators; Professors


AT depth of night, this thought on home had shone;
'Our distant child draws safe his sleeping breath.'
E'en then the cherish'd boy, th' expected son,
Was dying through two hours -- beaten to death.

Worse than if murder's unavoided blow
Had wrench'd away, 'twixt life and death, the bar;
Worse than if battle laid their treasure low,
For they court death who give their sons to war!

But here, the very place which had been sought
To guide and foster him, his doom fulfils;
The hand whose guardian Providence they bought
Is that, with torture still prolong'd, which kills.

Oh God! what agony his mother bears!
Bear can she not; but groans, and writhes, to think
Of those two hours, when sleep had swathed her cares
And he was passing o'er life's blood-stained brink.

The form she nourish'd in its infant grace,
Wearing the white fine garment wrought by her;
With large eyes looking gravely in her face,
Then breaking into laughter, gay as air;

Hugging her neck with rapturous baby love,
Kissing pure kisses, murmuring accents bland,
Moving and leaping in her happy arms,
Denting her bosom with his little hand;

The precious frame she guarded like a shrine,
Which in her clasp from breath of harm was safe;
And handled it so delicately fine,
Lest e'en her own soft mother-hand should chafe;

That is the form the ruffian slowly killed,
The childish crying followed upon fear;
And next his shrieks of pain the household thrilled,
The wounded limbs left blood upon the stair.

By midnight all was still; oh! was he dead!
Or left to die? -- Such crime such ruffian fits.
At morn a hireling did the first kind deed,
Wiping the face -- no longer his but its.

Mother! thy thoughts at every turn I meet,
And while I write, the tears run down like rain;
Grief thou might'st bear thyself -- but how submit,
When 'tis thy son, not thou, who bears the pain?

At thy home-table, thy home-couch upon,
Breathing, in wealth and shelter, healthy breath,
Still wilt thou writhe, that thy expected son,
Was dying through two hours -- beaten to death.




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