Death of an Infant

By Lydia Huntley Sigourney 1791–1865
Death found strange beauty on that cherub brow,
And dash’d it out. – There was a tint of rose
O’er cheek and lip; – he touch’d the veins with ice,
And the rose faded. – Forth from those blue eyes
There spake a wistful tenderness, – a doubt
Whether to grieve or sleep, which Innocence   
Alone can wear. – With ruthless haste he bound
The silken fringes of their curtaining lids
Forever. – There had been a murmuring sound
With which the babe would claim its mother’s ear,
Charming her even to tears. – The spoiler set
His seal of silence. – But there beam’d a smile,
So fix’d and holy from that marble brow, –
Death gazed and left it there; – he dared not steal
The signet-ring of Heaven.

Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

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Poet Lydia Huntley Sigourney 1791–1865

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Infancy, Death, Sorrow & Grieving

 Lydia Huntley Sigourney


Born in Norwich, Connecticut, poet Lydia Huntley Sigourney—known as the “Sweet Singer of Hartford”—was the only daughter of a gardener. She attended private school with the assistance of her father’s employer, and founded a Hartford school for girls in 1814. At this school, without any specialized training, Sigourney taught a deaf student, Alice Cogswell, to read and write in English. Cogswell would later be the first student . . .

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Poems by Lydia Huntley Sigourney

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Infancy, Death, Sorrow & Grieving

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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