Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Birth and Death

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Thomas Wade 1805–75

Birth and Death

METHINKS the soul within the body held

Is as a little babe within the womb,

Which flutters in its antenatal tomb,

But stirs and heaves the prison where ’t is cell’d,

And struggles in strange darkness, undispell’d

By all its strivings towards the breath and bloom

Of that aurorean being soon to come—

Strivings of feebleness, by nothing quell’d:

And even as birth to the enfranchis’d child,

Which shows to its sweet senses all the vast

Of beauty visible and audible,

Is death unto the spirit undefil’d;

Setting it free of limit, and the past,

And all that in its prison-house befell.