Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1788–1820
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vol. IV: Literature of the Republic, Part I., Constitutional period, 1788–1820
The Death of Children
By John Quincy Adams (1767–1848)
[Poems of Religion and Society. 1848.]

SURE, to the mansions of the blest
  When infant innocence ascends,
Some angel brighter than the rest
  The spotless spirit’s flight attends.
On wings of ecstasy they rise,        5
  Beyond where worlds material roll
Till some fair sister of the skies
  Receives the unpolluted soul.
There, at the Almighty Father’s hand,
  Nearest the throne of living light,        10
The choirs of infant seraphs stand,
  And dazzling shine, where all are bright.
That inextinguishable beam,
  With dust united at our birth,
Sheds a more dim, discolored gleam,        15
  The more it lingers upon earth.
Closed in this dark abode of clay,
  The stream of glory faintly burns,
Nor unobscured the lucid ray
  To its own native fount returns.        20
But when the Lord of mortal breath
  Decrees his bounty to resume,
And points the silent shaft of death,
  Which speeds an infant to the tomb—
No passion fierce, no low desire,        25
  Has quenched the radiance of the flame;
Back to its God the living fire
  Returns unsullied, as it came.

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