19th Century

To a Newborn Child | G.W.M. Reynolds

Frail plant, condemn’d to crouch beneath the storm

Of earthly ills, and shiver to the blast

    That rules in this cold world

    Th’ungenial atmosphere:

May thy diminutive and fragile frame

Survive the shocks of ev’ry latent pang,

    And live to smile at that

    Which once had startled thee!

Sweet babe! were all as innocent as thou,

Then might we deem the glorious times call’d back

    When our first parents rov’d

    Sinless in Eden‘s realms,

Alas! the tainted elements of earth,

That form the compact being which we call

     Man, is a living mass

     Of sorrow and of sin!

Yet live thou on, sweet child!—and like the brave

And dauntless sailor toss’d on lawless seas,

     May’st thou thus meet the ills

     That wait thy future day.


[1] Original citation: G.W.M.R. ‘To a New-Born Child’, Reynolds’s Miscellany, 1 April 1854, 12.