John Quincy Adams

To A Bereaved Mother

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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
That inextinguishable beam,
With dust united at our birth,
Sheds a more dim, discolor'd gleam
The more it lingers upon earth.
Closed in this dark abode of clay,
The stream of glory faintly burns.
Not unobserved, 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, nor low desire,
Has quenched the radiance of the flame;
Back to its GOD the living fire
Reverts, unclouded as it came.
Fond mourner! be that solace thine!
Let hope her healing charm impart,
And soothe, with melodies divine,
The anguish of a mother's heart.
0, think! the darlings of thy love,
Divested of this earthly clod,
Amid unnumber'd saints above,
Bask in the bosom of their GOD.
Of their short pilgrimage on earth
Still tender images remain:
Still, still they bless thee for their birth,
Still filial gratitude retain.
Each anxious care, each rending sigh,
That wrung for them the parent's breast,
Dwells on remembrance in the sky,
Amid the raptures of the blest.
O'er thee, with looks of love, they bend;
For thee the LORD of life implore;
And oft, from sainted bliss descend,
Thy wounded quiet to restore.
Oft, in the stillness of the night,
They smooth the pillow of thy bed;
Oft, till the morn's returning light,
Still watchful hover o'er thy head.
Hark! in such strains as saints employ,
They whisper to thy bosom peace;
Calm the perturbed heart to joy,
And bid the streaming sorrow cease.
Then dry, henceforth, the bitter tear:
Their part and thine inverted see:
Thou wert their guardian angel here,
They guardian angels now to thee.

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John Quincy Adams