I found this very moving and personal handwritten poem among some papers of my father, in a file along with other notes made by his Granny and great Granny. I assume it was written or copied out by one of them, or by someone else in the family.
The transcription is given below the photographs.
My Gathered Lily
My Gathered Lily
My lovely little Lily, thou wert gathered very soon,
In the fresh and dewy morning, not in the glare of noon;
The Saviour sent His angels, to bear thee hence, my own,
And they’ll plant thee in that garden, where decay is never known.
How peacefully, how sweetly, ebbed thy little life away,
Oh blessed for ever be the God, who heard thy mother pray;
She did not wish to keep thee in this world of sin and strife,
But she wished that thou without a pang might yield thy little life.
She watch thee, how she watched thee, thro’ that anxious night and day,
And only turned her eyes from thee, to look to heaven and pray!
“Deal gently with my darling!” Was still her fervent cry,
And–“Trust me with thy little one”, seemed still the Lord’s reply.
My Lily, Oh! My lily! I saw thee hour by hour,
Still drooping nearer to the earth, my pale and precious flower!
And as I marked the glazing eye and felt the cheek grow cold–
The mingled thoughts that filled my heart, they never can be told.
‘Twas in thy mother’s arms, my own, thou didst resign thy breath,
And she will bless her God for that, till she too smiles in death!
Oh! tenderly indeed, my babe the Saviour dealt with us,
When He in pitying love disarmed, the king of terrors thus.
One long drawn sigh thy mother heard, from thy unconscious breast,
And then she saw thy eyelids close, and knew thou wert at rest;
She pressed her lips upon thy cheek, how icy cold it felt!
And turning from thy chamber then, she went apart and knelt.
And often, often, ere it came, that last, sad, solemn day,
Beside thy cradle coffin she would sit, and gaze and pray;
And never, never from her heart, can thy sweet image fade,
So pure, so white, so still, so cold as if of marble made.
And when at length the day was come,-the solemn parting day,
That saw thee from thy earthly home, my loved one, borne away,
Still, still, my God was with me, and I was not seen to weep,
When they laid thee in the quiet tomb, where thy father’s kindred sleep.
And years have passed away since then, and many a joy and care,
Have filled by turns thy mother’s heart, in which thou had’st no share;
But still within that heart she keeps one sacred spot for thee,
And thine my Lily, thine alone, that spot shall ever be.
And often when I kneel in prayer, I thank my Saviour yet,
For all his tender love to thee which I can ne’er forget;
And when I pray for those I love, still left on earth with me,
I ask my God to deal with them as gently as with thee.