Graves of Infants



Infants' gravemounds are steps of angels, where
Earth's brightest gems of innocence repose.
God is their parent, so they need no tear;
He takes them to his bosom from earth's woes,
A bud their lifetime and a flower their close.
Their spirits are the Iris of the skies,
Needing no prayers; a sunset's happy close.
Gone are the bright rays of their soft blue eyes;
Flowers weep in dew-drops o'er them, and the gale gently sighs.

Their lives were nothing but a sunny shower,
Melting on flowers as tears melt from the eye.
Their deaths were dew-drops on heaven's amaranthine bower
Was tolled on flowers as Summer gales went by.
They bowed and trembled, yet they heaved no sigh,
And the sun smiled to show the end was well.
Infants have nought to weep for ere they die;
All prayers are needless, beads they need not tell,
White flowers their mourners are, Nature their passing bell.
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8 comments:

Lionel Little said...

Nine lines in the first verse with only eight in the second? Is the line 'Their deaths were dew-drops on heaven's amaranthine bower' missing from between 'Each death' and 'Was told...'. Did Clare write different versions? Or are the differences between books editors different interrpretations of Johns original lines?

Roger R. said...

Hi Lionel...

Yes, there are many versions of Clare poems, often with all sorts of different spellings too. He expected (from his letters we can see this) his publishers to change his lines, as he was aware that some polishing would be necessary to publish. And of course many did, hence the varient readings. However, Clare still shines through any amount of such.

simona said...

Hi. I'm an italian girl and i'm reading Clare poems. The verse "their deaths were de-drops on heavens' amaranthine bower" is difficult to understand for me? Anybody can help me, please?

Roger R. said...

Hi Simona,

The line is:
'Their deaths were dew-drops on heaven's amaranthine bower'

'their deaths' ... the death of infants
'dew-drops' ... drops of dew
'amaranthine' ... everlasting

Of help?

Roger R.

simona said...

Thanks a lot Roger! Actually i didn't understand the word "amaranthine" but now everything is clear!
;)
Can I get in touch with you in case of future need?

Roger R. said...

Please do...

... and all comments are gratefully received (and can enlighten all readers)!

Roger

Simona said...

Hi Roger! I have a "problem" with the
7th line of "Love lives beyond the tomb". Could you pls help me to understand
"Eve's dews may weep".
What's Eve's dew?
Thanks in advance for your time

Simona

Roger R. said...

"Eve's dews may weep".

Hi Simona,

That line is not in the version of the poem I know... so, can you email me your version so I may examine it please. Send to arborfield@gmail.com - I will be away for two days, but I will reply when I return.

Roger R.