A maiden lay on lowly ground,
As eve’s soft shades were gathering round;
Her brow was pale, her eyes were closed,
Her hands were on her breast reposed;
And round her couch, with bated breath,
The watchers watched the angel death
Spreading his wings for speedy flight
Ere fell the curtain of the night,
When, ho! as if with life renewed,
She started, whence the mourners stood,
And with enraptured gaze she smiled,
“Mother, the angels call your child;
I hear their voices, soft and low,
Whisper ‘tis time for me to go
Away, e’er the close of even,
Away to my home in heaven.”
Back on her lowly couch she laid,
Whilst hallowed light around her played;
And ere the rays of eve had fled,
Her joyous soul had heavenward sped.

Title:Mother, the Angels Call Your Child

Author:M. H. L. Saddleworth

Publication:Ashton and Stalybridge Reporter

Published in:Ashton-under-Lyne

Date:August 20th 1864

Keywords:death, domesticity, religion


This poem might be seen as typically morbid and characteristic of Victorian sentimentality, but it would have had particular resonance in Lancashire at the time of the Cotton Famine, when many people, old and young, died due to the hunger and disease associated with the crisis. The only hint of the social class of the subject in this poem is the repeated use of the adjective ‘lowly’ to describe the environment in which the young woman (‘maiden’) lies on her deathbed. – SR