by William Lisle Bowles
So breathing and so beautiful, they seem,
As if to die in youth were but to dream
Of spring and flowers! Of flowers? Yet nearer stand
There is a lily in one little hand,
So sleeps that child, not faded, though in death,
And seeming still to hear her sister's breath,
Take up those flowers that fell
From the dead hand, and sigh a long farewell!
Thine, Chantrey, be the fame
That joins to immortality thy name.
For these sweet children that so sculptured rest
A sister's head upon a sister's breast
Age after age shall pass away,
Nor shall their beauty fade, their forms decay.
Mothers, till ruin the round world hath rent,
Shall gaze with tears upon the monument!
And fathers sigh, with half-suspended breath:
How sweetly sleep the innocent in death!
This is an excerpt from this hauntingly beautiful poem written in tribute to The Sleeping Children sculpture by Francis Chantrey in memory of Ellen-Jane and Marianne Robinson.