Only a baby’s grave!
Some foot or two, at the most,
Of star-daisied sod, yet I think that God
Knows what that little grave cost.
Only a baby’s grave!
To children even so small,
They sit there and sing – so small a thing
Seems scarcely a grave at all!
Only a baby’s grave!
Strange! how we moan and fret
For a little face that was here such a space –
O more strange, could we forget!
Only a baby’s grave!
Did we measure grief by this,
Few tears were shed on our baby dead,
I know how they fell on this.
Only a baby’s grave!
Will the little life be much
Too small a gem for His diadem,
Whose kingdom is made of such?
Only a baby’s grave!
Yet often we come and sit
By the little stone, and thank God to own
We are nearer Heaven for it!
- Good Words, for May. L.N.

Title:Only a Baby's Grave

Author:L. N.

Publication:The Bolton Chronicle

Published in:Bolton

Date:30th April 1864

Keywords:death, religion


The huge spike in infant mortality during the Lancashire Cotton Famine saw the publication of several poems in this genre. Appealing to readers’ sympathies through the relating of the effects of poverty on children was common throughout the Victorian period. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s 1843 poem ‘The Cry of the Children’ went a long way towards influencing legislation cutting working hours for children in industry. However, the particular context of the Cotton Famine make this poem especially poignant. – SR