Sunday, January 20, 2019

On an Infant

Most of the poems I include in my Sunday morning musings are hymns that have been set to music. As far as I know, the following poem has not. I ran across “On an Infant” while trying to confirm the hard-to-read epitaph on the tombstone of Elva Lynn Eiland at the Myrtle Springs Cemetery in Van Zandt County, Texas—Happy infant early blest; Rest in peaceful slumber, rest.

The entire poem from which the epitaph was extracted I is as follows:

1. To the dark and silent tomb
Soon I hasted from the womb,
Scarce the dawn of life began,
Ere I measur’d out my span.

2. I no smiling pleasures knew;
I no gay delights could view:
Joyless sojourner, was I,
Only born to weep and die.

3. Happy infant, early blest!
Rest, in peaceful slumber, rest;
Early rescu’d from the cares
Which increase with growing years.

4. No delights are worth thy stay,
Smiling as they seem, and gay
Short and fickly are they all
Hardly tasted ere they pall.

5. All our gaiety is vain,
All our laughter is but pain:
Lasting only, and divine,
Is an innocence like thine.

Elva Lynn Eiland was a daughter of F. L. Eiland and Minnie Valentine. Franklin Lycurgus Eiland was a gospel composer and hymn writer. He wrote the music for Jennie Wilson’s Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand. Country-and-western songwriter Cindy Walker was Eiland’s granddaughter.

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