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On Visiting the Grave of My Stillborn Little Girl

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Sunday July 4th 1836

I made a vow within my soul, O Child,
When thou wert laid beside my weary heart,
With marks of death on every tender part
That, if in time a living infant smiled,
Winning my ear with gentle sounds of love
In sunshine of such joy, I still would save
A green rest for thy memory, O Dove!
And oft times visit thy small, nameless grave.
Thee have I not forgot, my firstborn, thou
Whose eyes ne’er opened to my wistful gaze,
Whose sufferings stamped with pain thy little brow;
I think of thee in these far happier days,
And thou, my child, from thy bright heaven see
How well I keep my faithful vow to thee.

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810–1865) was a popular British novelist and prolific short-story writer with a strong social consciousness. She was married to William Gaskell, a well-known lecturer and Unitarian minister, and they had six children. Their first child, a daughter, was stillborn in 1833. Another child, a son, died in infancy, but her other four daughters survived into adulthood. Gaskell’s first novel, Mary Barton, published anonymously, grew out of the loss of her infant son and showed uncommon sympathy for the brutally impoverished millworkers of Manchester. The book created a sensation and her identity as its author soon became known. Subsequent novels continued to show a rich sympathy for the poor and for the status of women in Victorian society. In addition to her novels, Gaskell published a great many short stories, several of which were published in Charles Dickens’s magazine All the Year Round. She also published a notable biography of Charlotte Brontë. “On Visiting the Grave of My Stillborn Little Girl” is her best known poem.

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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Sunday July 4th 1836

I made a vow within my soul, O Child,
When thou wert laid beside my weary heart,
With marks of death on every tender part
That, if in time a living infant smiled,
Winning my ear with gentle sounds of love
In sunshine of such joy, I still would save
A green rest for thy memory, O Dove!
And oft times visit thy small, nameless grave.
Thee have I not forgot, my firstborn, thou
Whose eyes ne’er opened to my wistful gaze,
Whose sufferings stamped with pain thy little brow;
I think of thee in these far happier days,
And thou, my child, from thy bright heaven see
How well I keep my faithful vow to thee.

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810–1865) was a popular British novelist and prolific short-story writer with a strong social consciousness. She was married to William Gaskell, a well-known lecturer and Unitarian minister, and they had six children. Their first child, a daughter, was stillborn in 1833. Another child, a son, died in infancy, but her other four daughters survived into adulthood. Gaskell’s first novel, Mary Barton, published anonymously, grew out of the loss of her infant son and showed uncommon sympathy for the brutally impoverished millworkers of Manchester. The book created a sensation and her identity as its author soon became known. Subsequent novels continued to show a rich sympathy for the poor and for the status of women in Victorian society. In addition to her novels, Gaskell published a great many short stories, several of which were published in Charles Dickens’s magazine All the Year Round. She also published a notable biography of Charlotte Brontë. “On Visiting the Grave of My Stillborn Little Girl” is her best known poem.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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