An essay by T. S. Arthur
Baby Is Dead
Title: Baby Is Dead
Author: T. S. Arthur [More Titles by Arthur]
"BABY is dead!" How many hearts have throbbed with anguish, and eyes overflowed with tears at the utterance of these thrilling words! A tender bud is intrusted to a rejoicing family. Very precious does it become to them. With what ecstatic joy do they note the first dawn of intelligence as it beams from the starry eyes! How merry their own hearts now, as they listen to the shouts of childish glee as they burst from the coral lips! Ay, very, very dear is this little one, and their cup of bliss seems full without alloy; when suddenly the relentless destroyer enters their happy home, and sets his seal on that snowy brow, so like a lily's leaf, in its pure beauty. Disease fastens itself upon the loved one, and, like a tender bud nipped by the untimely frost, it withers, droops, and dies. Then come the fearful words, "Baby is dead!" With what a crushing weight do they fall on the ears of that mourning family! How reluctantly do their bruised hearts acknowledge the sad truth! But stern reality avers it so, and the spectre Grief claims them for its own, as they gaze upon the pale face of the little sleeper.
Ah! the light of those bright eyes is for ever quenched, and the lids are closed tranquilly over them; the rose tint has fled from the round cheeks; the ruby lips are colourless, and the youthful heart has ceased its throbbings.
Yes, "Baby is dead," and silently they prepare it for the cheerless tomb. The golden tresses they so oft have wound lovingly over their fingers, are gently smoothed for the last time, while one fairy curl is severed and placed next the mother's heart; oft will she gaze upon it, as the months of her sorrow come and go, and weep over the memory of her departed treasure.
Sadly the little form is robed in the tiny shroud, and the dimpled hands crossed sweetly over the pulseless bosom. Gently he is placed in the coffin--it is a harder bed than he was wont to rest on, but he will feel it not. With unutterable anguish they follow him to the dark, cold grave; strange hands lower him into its gloomy depths, and the clods fall heavily upon the coffin. Each one seems to sink with laden weight into their hearts. It is filled up now, and the green turf covers the late smiling cherub, and the mourners turn sadly away. Oh! how dark the world seems now, which was so full of sunshine a little while ago! How desolate their once joyous house!
"Baby is dead--our idol is gone," is the language of their hearts. Yes, stricken ones, your sunbeam is gone; but where? You have buried the beauteous casket beneath the green sods of the valley; but the precious jewel it contained is beaming brightly in the coronal of God.
Your treasure is taken from your love-encircling arms, but it is sweetly pillowed on the bosom of that kind Saviour who said, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
The bud is nipped from its parent stem in the springtime of its existence; but it hath been transplanted to a milder clime, where the rough blasts and chilling storms of mortality cannot harm, and where, watered by the soft dew of Divine love, its tiny leaves will expand and bloom with unfading lustre!
Had this bud of life, over whom your souls yearned with such unutterable fondness, been spared to you, you know not how your bright anticipations might have been darkened. When it came to thread life's strange, wild paths, mildew and blight might have settled on the pure spirit, and guilty, desolating passions scathed the guileless heart.
Then weep not, mourning ones, but rather rejoice that He, who doeth all things well, hath summoned it, in its pristine purity, to a haven of innocence, where contamination nor decay cannot defile or enter. And when you miss the childish prattle or silvery laugh which fell so sweetly on your ears, think of the baby that is dead to you, as a rejoicing angel among angelic hosts that throng the "land of the blest." Baby is dead to earth, but is living in Paradise!
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