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Elizabeth Gaskell: On Visiting the Grave of My Stillborn Little Girl

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, though
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 (née Stevenson; 1810 – 1865), often referred to as Mrs Gaskell, was an English novelist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of Victorian society, including the very poor. Her work is of interest to social historians as well as readers of literature.

Elizabeth Gaskell: 1832 miniature by William John Thomson

2 comments on “Elizabeth Gaskell: On Visiting the Grave of My Stillborn Little Girl

  1. Patricia A. Nugent
    July 1, 2022

    So beautifully sad. Today, she may be questioned by law enforcement re: the circumstances of her baby’s death. Imagine someone in her pain having to cope with such a personal intrusion.

    Liked by 3 people

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