Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  Lines on the Death of His Son Charles

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Lines on the Death of His Son Charles

By Daniel Webster (1782–1852)

[Written in 1825.—The Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster. Edited by Fletcher Webster. 1856.]

MY son, thou wast my heart’s delight,

Thy morn of life was gay and cheery;

That morn has rushed to sudden night,

Thy father’s house is sad and dreary.

I held thee on my knee, my son!

And kissed thee laughing, kissed thee weeping;

But ah! thy little day is done,

Thou’rt with thy angel sister sleeping.

The staff, on which my years should lean,

Is broken, ere those years come o’er me;

My funeral rites thou shouldst have seen,

But thou art in the tomb before me.

Thou rear’st to me no filial stone,

No parent’s grave with tears beholdest;

Thou art my ancestor, my son!

And stand’st in Heaven’s account the oldest.

On earth my lot was soonest cast,

Thy generation after mine,

Thou hast thy predecessor past;

Earlier eternity is thine.

I should have set before thine eyes

The road to Heaven, and showed it clear;

But thou untaught spring’st to the skies,

And leav’st thy teacher lingering here.

Sweet Seraph, I would learn of thee,

And hasten to partake thy bliss!

And oh! to thy world welcome me,

As first I welcomed thee to this.

Dear Angel, thou art safe in heaven;

No prayers for thee need more be made;

Oh! let thy prayers for those be given

Who oft have blessed thy infant head.

My Father! I beheld thee born,

And led thy tottering steps with care;

Before me risen to Heaven’s bright morn,

My son! My father! guide me there.