Jean Ingelow

(17 March 1820 - 20 July 1897 / Boston, Lincolnshire)

The Snowdropp Monument (In Lichfield Cathedral) - Poem by Jean Ingelow

Marvels of sleep, grown cold!
Who hath not longed to fold
With pitying ruth, forgetful of their bliss,
Those cherub forms that lie,
With none to watch them nigh,
Or touch the silent lips with one warm human kiss?

What! they are left alone
All night with graven stone,
Pillars and arches that above them meet;
While through those windows high
The journeying stars can spy,
And dim blue moonbeams dropp on their uncovered feet?

O cold! yet look again,
There is a wandering vein
Traced in the hand where those white snowdrops lie.
Let her rapt dreamy smile
The wondering heart beguile,
That almost thinks to hear a calm contented sigh.

What silence dwells between
Those severed lips serene!
The rapture of sweet waiting breathes and grows.
What trance-like peace is shed
On her reclining head,
And e'en on listless feet what languor of repose!

Angels of joy and love
Lean softly from above
And whisper to her sweet and marvellous things;
Tell of the golden gate
That opened wide doth wait,
And shadow her dim sleep with their celestial wings.

Hearing of that blest shore
She thinks on earth no more,
Contented to forego this wintry land.
She has nor thought nor care
But to rest calmly there,
And hold the snowdrops pale that blossom in her hand.

But on the other face
Broodeth a mournful grace,
This had foreboding thoughts beyond her years,
While sinking thus to sleep
She saw her mother weep,
And could not lift her hand to dry those heart-sick tears.

Could not—but failing lay,
Sighed her young life away.
And let her arm dropp down in listless rest,
Too weary on that bed
To turn her dying head,
Or fold the little sister nearer to her breast.

Yet this is faintly told
On features fair and cold,
A look of calm surprise, of mild regret,
As if with life oppressed
She turned her to her rest,
But felt her mother's love and looked not to forget.

How wistfully they close,
Sweet eyes, to their repose!
How quietly declines the placid brow!
The young lips seem to say,
'I have wept much to-day,
And felt some bitter pains, but they are over now.'

Sleep! there are left below
Many who pine to go,
Many who lay it to their chastened souls,
That gloomy days draw nigh,
And they are blest who die,
For this green world grows worse the longer that she rolls.

And as for me I know
A little of her woe,
Her yearning want doth in my soul abide,
And sighs of them that weep,
'O put us soon to sleep,
For when we wake—with Thee—we shall be satisfied.'


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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2012



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