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My babe was moaning in its sleep,
I leaned and kissed it where it lay,
My pain was such I could not weep,
Oh, would God take my child away?
He had so many round his throne-
If He took mine-I stood alone!

I took my child upon my knee;
It looked up with its father's eyes,
Who, ere the infant came to me,
Had journeyed homeward to the skies,
But through those eyes, so sad and mild,
I found my husband, in my child.

It was such comfort, night and day,
To watch its slumber,-feel its breath-
And slow-so slow-it pined away,
I heard not the approach of Death
Until he stood close at my side,
And then my soul within me died.

I clasped my babe with sudden moan,
I cried, "My sweet, thou shalt not go
To join the children round the Throne,
For I have need of thee below.
If God takes thee, I am bereft-
No hope or joy or comfort left."

My babe looked pleading in my face,
It seemed my husband's eyes instead,
And his voice sounded in the place,
"I want my child in heaven," it said.
The infant raised its little hands,
And seemed to reach toward heavenly lands.

The tears that had refused to flow
Came welling upward from my heart,
I sobbed, "My child, then thou may'st go,
Thy angel father bids us part.
I know in all that heavenly place
He ne'er looked on so sweet a face.

"He journeyed on, before thou came-
And all these months, he's longed for thee,
How could I so forget his claim-
And strive to keep thee at my knee.
Go, child-my child-and give him this-
In one the wife's and mother's kiss."

My baby smiled, and seeming slept,
Its hand grew cold within my own.
Not wholly sad the tears I wept
For though I was indeed alone,
My babe I knew was safe at rest
Upon its angel father's breast.

© Wilcox Ella Wheeler