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Charles Lamb - from On an Infant Dying as soon as born

Identifier

012544

Type of spiritual experience

Background

I think he has answered his own question don't you?

After all, what would you rather be - an angel or a  " shrivelled crone stiffened with age to stocks and stones;" or alternatively "a sinner of an hundred years".

The good die young, so they say.....

A description of the experience

Charles Lamb – from On an Infant  Dying as soon as born

She did but ope an eye, and put
A clear beam forth, then straight up shut
For the long dark; ne'er more to see
Through glasses of mortality.
Riddle of destiny, who can show
What thy short visit meant, or know
What thy errand here below?

Shall we say, that Nature blind
Checked her hand and changed her mind
Just when she had exactly wrought
A finished pattern without fault?

…........

Limbs so firm, they seemed to assure
Life of health, and days mature;
Woman's self in miniature!
Limbs so fair, they might supply
(Themselves now but cold imagery)
The sculptor to make beauty by.
Or did the stern eyed fate descry
That babe or mother, one must die;
So in mercy left the stock
And cut the branch; to save the shock
Of young years widowed, and the pain
When single state comes back again
To the lone man who, reft of wife,
Thenceforward drags a maimed life?
The economy of Heaven is dark,
And wisest clerks have missed the mark
Why human buds, like this, should fall
More brief than fly ephemeral
That has his day; while shrivelled crones
Stiffen with age to stocks and stones;
And crabbed use the conscience sears
In sinners of an hundred years.

The source of the experience

Poet other

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