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Short poem

Robert Stephen Hawker (1803-1875)

The Wail of the Cornish Mother

              1They say 'tis a sin to sorrow,
              2    That what God doth is best:
              3But 'tis only a month to-morrow,
              4    I buried it from my breast.

              5I know it should be a pleasure,
              6    Your child to God to send: --
              7But mine was a precious treasure
              8    To me and to my poor friend.

              9I thought it would call me "mother,"
            10    The very first words it said;
            11O! I never can love another,
            12    Like the blessèd babe that's dead.

            13Well, God is its own dear Father,
            14    It was carried to church and blessed:
            15And our Saviour's arms will gather
            16    Such children to their rest.

            17I shall make my best endeavour,
            18    That my sins may be forgiven:
            19I will serve God more than ever,
            20    To meet my child in heaven.

            21I will check this foolish sorrow,
            22    For what God doth is best: --
            23But O! 'tis a month to-morrow,
            24    I buried it from my breast.


8] friend: "The name for Husband in this country" (Cornish Ballads [1908]: 81).

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Rev. R. S. Hawker, The Cornish Ballads And other Poems (Oxford and London: James Parker, 1869): 19-20. Facsimile Reproduction with an intro. by Kay J. Walter and Terence Allan Hoagwood. Delmar, N.Y.: Scholars' Facsimiles, 1994. PR 4759 H9C6 1869a Robarts Library
First publication date: 1836
Publication date note: Records of the Western Shore, 2nd ser. (1836).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/4/29

Composition date: 1836
Form: quatrains
Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Robert Stephen Hawker