'Your prayers you have said, and you've wished good night:
What cause is there yet keeps my darling awake?
This throb in your bosom proclaims some affright
Disturbs your composure. Can innocence quake?

'Why thus do you cling to my neck, and enfold me,
What fear unimparted your quiet devours?'
'O mother, there's reason-for Susan has told me,
A dead body lies in the room next to ours.'

'I know it; and, but for forgetfulness, dear,
I meant you the coffin this day should have seen,
And read the inscription, and told me the year
And day of the death of your poor old Nurse Green.'

'O not for the wealth of the world would I enter
A chamber wherein a dead body lay hid,
Lest somebody bolder than I am should venture
To go near the coffin and lift up the lid.'

'And should they do so and the coffin uncover,
The corpse underneath it would be no ill sight;
This frame, when its animal functions are over,
Has nothing of horror the living to fright.

To start at the dead is preposterous error,
To shrink from a foe that can never contest;
Shall that which is motionless move thee to terror;
Or thou become restless, 'cause they are at rest?

To think harm of her our good feelings forbid us
By whom when a babe you were dandled and fed;
Who living so many good offices did us,
I ne'er can persuade me would hurt us when dead.

But if no endeavour your terrors can smother,
If vainly against apprehension you strive,
Come, bury your fears in the arms of your mother;
My darling, cling close to me, I am alive.'

About Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb was an English essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced with his sister, Mary Lamb. Lamb has been referred to by E.V. Lucas, his principal biographer, as the most lovable figure in English literature. Lamb was honoured by The Latymer School, a grammar school in Edmonton, a suburb of London where he lived for a time; it has six houses, one of which, "Lamb", is named after Charles. Youth and Schooling Lamb was the son of Elizabeth Field and John Lamb. Lamb was the youngest child,... Read more...

Poet of the day

Jessie Pope was an English poet, writer and journalist, who remains best known for her patriotic motivational poems published during World War I. Wilfred OwenSiegfried Sassoon has grown.

Early Career

Born in Leicester, she was educated at North London Collegiate School. She was a regular contributor to Punch, The Daily...

Poem of the day

Pour tous ― elle excepté ― ma vie a son mystère :
Un amour éternel depuis longtemps conçu.
Mon cœur en débordait ; pourtant j'ai dû le taire :
Nul profane ici-bas n'en a jamais rien su.

À distance je vis, discret, inaperçu ;
On me...