Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MOTHER'S MISTAKE, by HORACE SMITH



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MOTHER'S MISTAKE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Heard you that piercing shriek -- the throe
Last Line: Outgushing tears, and gasping sobs.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Errors; Fear; Grief; Kisses; Mothers; Tears; Mistakes; Fallacies; Sorrow; Sadness


HEARD you that piercing shriek -- the throe
Of fear and agonising woe?
It is a mother, who with wild
Despairing looks and gasping breath,
Thinks she beholds her only child
Extended on the floor in death!
That darling Babe whose natal cry
Had thrilled her heart with ecstacy,
As with baptizing tears of bliss
Her nestling treasure she bedewed,
Then clasped him with a silent kiss,
And heavenward looked her gratitude: --
That darling babe who, while he pressed
His rosebud lips around her breast,
Would steal an upward glance, and bless
With smiles his mother's tenderness;
Confining laughter to his eyes,
Lest he should lose the teeming prize: --
That darling Babe who, sleeping, proved,
More than when waking, how she loved.
Then was her ever watchful ear
Prepared to catch the smallest noise,
Which sometimes hope and sometimes fear
Would liken to her infant's voice.
With beating heart and timid flush,
On tiptoe to his cot she crept,
Lifting the curtain with a hush,
To gaze upon him as he slept,
Then would she place his outstretched arm
Beside his body, close and warm;
Adjust his scattered clothes aright,
And shade his features from the light,
And look a thousand fond caressings
And move her lips in speechless blessings,
Then steal away with eyes that glisten,
Again to linger round and listen.
Oh! can she bear to think that he
Whom she has loved so tenderly,
Her only earthly hope and stay,
For ever should be wrenched away?
No, no! -- to such o'erpowering grief
Oblivion brings a short relief:
She hears no sound; all objects swim
Before her sight confused and dim;
She feels each sickening sense decay,
Sinks shuddering down, and faints away!

Her child revives -- its fit is o'er;
When with affrighted zeal it tries
By voice and kisses to restore
The mother's dormant faculties;
Till nature's tides with quickened force
Resume their interrupted course:
Her eyes she opens, sees her boy,
Gazes with sense-bewildered start,
Utters a thrilling cry of joy,
Clasps him in transport to her heart,
Stamps kisses on his mouth, his cheek,
Looks up to heaven, and tries to speak;
But voice is drowned in heaving throbs,
Outgushing tears, and gasping sobs.





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