John Quincy Adams

The Death Of Children

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Sure, to the mansions of the blest
When infant innocence ascends,
Some angel brighter than the rest
The spotless spirit's flight attends.
On wings of ecstasy they rise,
Beyond where worlds material roll
Till some fair sister of the skies
Receives the unpolluted soul
There, at the Almighty Father's hand,
Nearest the throne of living light,
The choirs of infant seraphs stand,
And dazzling shine, where all are bright.
That inextinguishable beam,
With dust united at our birth,
Sheds a more dim, discolored gleam,
The more it lingers upon earth.
Closed in this dark abode of clay,
The stream of glory faintly burns,
Nor unobscured the lucid ray
To its own native fount returns.
But when the Lord of mortal breath
Decrees his bounty to resume.
And points the silent shaft of death,
Which speeds an infant to the tomb
No passion fierce, no low desire,
Has quenched the radiance of the flame;
Back to its God the living fire Returns, unsullied, as it came.

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John Quincy Adams