The Dead Babe

Last night, as my dear babe lay dead,
In agony I knelt and said:
"0 God! what have I done,
Or in what wise offended Thee,
That Thou should'st take away from me
My little son?

"Upon the thousand useless lives,
Upon the guilt that vaunting thrives,
Thy wrath were better spent!
Why should'st Thou take my little son -
Why should'st Thou vent Thy wrath upon
This innocent?"

Last night, as my dear babe lay dead,
Before mine eyes the vision spread
Of things that might have been:
Licentious riot, cruel strife,
Forgotten prayers, a wasted life
Dark red with sin!

Then, with sweet music in the air,
I saw another vision there:
A Shepherd in whose keep
A little lamb - my little child!
Of worldly wisdom undefiled,
Lay fast asleep!

Last night, as my dear babe lay dead,
In those two messages I read
A wisdom manifest;
And though my arms be childless now,
I am content - to Him I bow
Who knoweth best.

by Eugene Field

Comments (1)

I was 16 years old when I first read this poem in 1961,10th grade, in our school library. I immediately thought this poem was a beautiful poem and meditated on its meaning. When I went home and told various members of my family about this poem, they thought I was being Morbid. A couple years later I made mention of this poem that stayed with me to another member of my family, who also thought I was morbid. 10 years after first reading this poem, I lost my 3 1/2 yr old son to a drowing at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park and I immediately thought of this poem which I immediately had placed on his headstone. Suddenly, everyone saw the beauty in this poem that I had seen at 16. He passed away almost 36 years ago and strangers still put flowers on his grave occasionally. I believe this poem has brought comfort and healing to many people who pass his grave site when burying or visiting one of their own. I believe GOD brought me to this poem for a reason and I am grateful for having found it.