Robert Bridges


On a Dead Child

Perfect little body, without fault or stain on thee,
With promise of strength and manhood full and fair!
Though cold and stark and bare,
The bloom and the charm of life doth awhile remain on thee.

Thy mother’ s treasure wert thou; — alas! no longer
To visit her heart with wondrous joy; to be
Thy father’ s pride; — ah, he
Must gather his faith together, and his strength make stronger.

To Catullus

Would that you were alive today, Catullus!
Truth ’ tis, there is a filthy skunk amongst us,
A rank musk-idiot, the filthiest skunk,
Of no least sorry use on earth, but only
Fit in fancy to justify the outlay
Of your most horrible vocabulary.

My Muse, all innocent as Eve in Eden,
Would yet wear any skins of old pollution
Rather than celebrate the name detested.
Ev’ n now might he rejoice at our attention,
Guess'd he this little ode were aiming at him.

O! were you but alive again, Catullus!