Sleep Sweetly Gentle Child. By Juliet.

From: At Home and Abroad, or Things and Thoughts in Europe (1856)
Author: Margaret Fuller Ossoli
Published: and Company 1856 Boston


  [The only child of the Marchioness Ossoli, well known as Margaret Fuller, is buried in the Valley Cemetery, at Manchester, N. H. There is always a vase of flowers placed near the grave, and a marble slab, with a cross and lily sculptured upon it bears this inscriptions: “In Memory of Angelo Eugene Ossoli, who was born at Rieti, in Italy, 5th September, 1848, and perished by shipwreck off Fire Island, with both his parents, Giovanni Angelo and Margaret Fuller Ossoli, on the 19th of July, 1850.”]

SLEEP sweetly, gentle child! though to this sleep
The cold winds rocked thee, on the ocean’s breast,
And strange, wild murmurs o’er the dark, blue deep
Were the last sounds that lulled thee to thy rest,
And while the moaning waves above thee rolled,
The hearts that loved thee best grew still and cold.

Sleep sweetly, gentle child! though the loved tone
That twice twelve months had hushed thee to repose
Could give no answer to the tearful moan
That faintly from, thy sea-moss pillow-rose.
That night the arms that closely folded thee
Were the wet weeds that floated in the sea.

Sleep sweetly, gentle child! the cold, blue wave
Hath pitied the sad sighs the wild winds bore,
And from the wreck it held one treasure gave
To the fond watchers weeping on the shore;—
Now the sweet vale shall guard its precious trust,
While mourning hearts weep o’er thy silent dust.

Sleep sweetly, gentle child! love’s tears are shed
Upon the garlands of fair Northern flowers
That fond hearts strew above thy lowly bed,
Through all our summer’s glad and pleasant hours:
For thy sake, and for hers who sleeps beneath the wave,
Kind hands bring flowers to fade upon thy grave.

Sleep sweetly, gentle child! the warm wind sighs
Amid the dark pines through this quiet dell,
And waves the light flower-shade that lies
Upon the white-leaved lily’s sculptured bell;—
The “Valley’s” flowers are fair, the turf is green;—
Sleep sweetly here, wept-for Eugene!

Sleep sweetly, gentle child! this peaceful rest
Hath early given thee to a home above,
Safe from all sins and tears, for ever blest
To sing sweet praises of redeeming love,—
The love that took thee to that world of bliss
Ere thou hadst learned the sighs and griefs of this.


Laurel Brook, N. H. September, 1851.

* These lines are beautiful and full of sweet sympathy. The home of the mother and brother of Margaret Fuller being now too removed from Manchester to Boston, the remains of the little child, too dear to remain distant from us, have been removed to Mount Auburn. The same marble slab is there with its inscriptions, and the lines deserve insertion here.—ED.

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