Remembering William

I enjoy finding things unknown to Google. In looking over 19th century newspapers for a project at work, I found this forgotten poem.

The author was a 15-year-old girl lamenting the death of her baby brother.

Her full name is lost in history, but she was identified as "Kittie L."

The poem was printed as follows:

In the parlor lone and dreary
Little Willie sleeps tonight
At his side I’ll sit and watch him
By the taper’s flickering light.
He is fair—this baby sleeper—
Auburn ringlets shade his face,
And his dimpled face is radiant
With a smile of pleasant grace.

Willie’s fairy hands are folded
Peacefully upon his breast,
Willie’s dark eyes shine no longer,
They are closed in happy rest.
Strange that little Willie slumbers
In this parlor, cold and dim!
Why not lay him in his cradle,
Murm’ring low some evening hymn?

Here it is so dark and lonely!
When he wakens, he will cry,
Starting up in baby terror,
Finding only shadows nigh:
Wrap him warmly in his blanket.
Bring him to the nursery bright,
Do not leave our pretty baby
All alone, this weary night!

Yet these words are vain and idle,
And my tears fall down like rain,
For I know, by many a token,
Willie can not wake again!
For his sleep is still and perfect
In its deep and silent flow,
As when upon his couch he rested
And his face in healthful glow.

Tiny limbs have lost their motion,
Ruby lips like coral show,
And his eyes are closed for ever
In the sleep we all must know!
Never more shall Willie nestle
In his downy cradle bed,
From this room he goeth only
To the chambers of the dead!

Like a tender little pilgrim
Fleeing from some angry strife,
Yester-night our baby Willie
Yielded up his precious life.
It may be heard the angels
Calling to him from the sky,
“Come up hither, little Willie!
To the heavenly saints on high.”

Thank you for sharing "Kittie," and I am proud to be the one to introduce your work to Google.

In a strange coincidence, I held this poem for several months before retyping it. After finally typing the document the other day, I went back to my history research project and guess what was on page one of my next issue to review?

A second poem about young Willie's death--this time the author was listed as "anonymous."

I'll add the second poem later.

Funny how things happen.  


ladyfi said...

What a sad and lovely poem.

Mary Kirkland said...

Aww what a sad poem.

Bijoux said...

So sad to think of all the young lives cut short back then.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

It's a really fantastic poem. Thanks for sharing.

Miranda Hardy said...

Wow! A gem of a poem, although it's a sad one. Thanks for posting.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow, she did a great job indeed. You proved not even google knows it all.

Janet Johnson said...

Very sad! And amazing to think a 15-year-old wrote it. Poor Willie. :(

Rachna Chhabria said...

What a heart tugging poem. Feel bad for the sister who lost her little brother.

Bunkerville said...

Thanks as well.

Gail Dixon said...

Haunting and lovely at the same time. You can feel the pain and sadness radiating from sweet sister Kittie.

Carma Sez said...

a sweet devoted sister - and brilliant writer for only 15 - and now you have me wondering what you were researching for work...

Stephanie Faris said...

Beautiful poem. It's important to have pieces of history like that for future generations to read, as well.

Brian Miller said...

interesting how life brings us what we need in the moment...ha...and interesting on the second poem as is sad, but i am glad she had words to express there will be others that need to hear it as well...

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing this. I'm Heather and I just have a quick question about your blog that I was hoping you could answer. My email is Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com :-)

Jeanette Levellie said...

wow, she was one creative, excellent writer. Thanks for sharing her work with us. Have a great vacation!

Jenny said...

Wow. That was an incredibly poignant poem!

Audrey Allure said...

Lovely poem - interesting!

lisa said...

I'm not sure how you managed to type the poem without breaking down into tears! That's some very raw emotion.

A Cuban In London said...

Have fun wherever you are and whatever you are doing. This is such a sad poem and yet so beautiful.

Greetings from London.

terri said...

What a loving, sad, sorrowful poem. Impressive that a 15 year old could have written it.

Momma Fargo said...

Aw. Sad, but very amazing for a 15 year old to write that kind of work. Thanks for sharing!

Ginny said...

Wow what a talented writer. Very sad but a very beautiful poem.