The Death-Bed by Thomas Hood

We watch’d her breathing through the night.
Her breathing soft and low,
As in her breast the wave of life
Kept heaving to and fro.

So silently we seem’d to speak,
So slowly moved about,
As we had lent her half our powers
To eke her living out.

Our very hopes belied our fears,
Our fears our hopes belied–
We thought her dying when she slept,
And sleeping when she died.

For when the morn came dim and sad,
And chill with early showers,
Her quiet eyelids closed–she had
Another morn than ours.

Note: The Englishman’s Magazine, August 1831. This magazine was a venture of Edward Moxon, the publisher, but had a career of only seven months. It is memorable, however, for including, besides the above and various papers by Charles Lamb, poetical contributions from Tennyson and Arthur Hallam, and also for containing the review by the latter of Tennyson’s first volume of poems, published in 1830. The beautiful stanzas of Hood’s appear here, as far as I have discovered, for the first time. The date of their composition remains unfixed. Hood’s son was under the impression that they were written on the death of one of his father’s sisters, but supplied no evidence bearing on the question.

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