WHEN from our mortal vision
    Grown men and women go,
To sail strange fields Elysian,
    And know what spirits know,
I think of them as tourists,
    In some sun-gilded clime,
'Mong happy sights and dear delights
    We all shall find, in time.

But when a child goes yonder
    And leaves its mother here,
Its little feet must wander,
    It seems to me, in fear.
What paths of Eden beauty,
    What scenes of peace and rest,
Can bring content to one who went
    Forth from a mother's breast?

In palace gardens, lonely,
    A little child will roam,
And weep for pleasures only
    Found in its humble home
It is not won by splendor,
    Nor bought by costly toys,
To hide from harm on mother's arm
    Makes all its sum of joys.

It must be when the baby
    Goes journeying off alone,
Some angel (Mary maybe),
    Adopts it for her own.
Yet when a child is taken,
    Whose mother stays below
With weeping eyes, through Paradise,
    I seem to see it go.

With troops of angels trying
    To drive away its fear,
I seem to hear it crying,
    "I want my mamma here."
I do not court the fancy--
    It is not based on doubt ;
It is a thought that comes unsought
    When baby souls sail out.                             ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.

The Evening Bulletin [Philadelphia] 26 Dec. 1905: 7.

Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.

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