A prayer for a child, by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

A poem written by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, about the child (by her lover Charles Grey) she was forced to give up. Yes, Georgiana was a writer too, though it is easy to overlook it if you limit yourself to the film The Duchess.

Unhappy child of indiscretion,
poor slumberer on a breast forlorn
pledge of reproof of past transgression
Dear tho’ unfortunate to be born.

For thee a suppliant wish addressing
To Heaven thy mother fain would dare
But conscious blushes stain the blessing
And sighs suppress my broken prayer.

But spite of these my mind unshaken
In present duty turns to thee
Tho’ long repented ne’er forgotten
Thy days shalllov’ d and guarded be.

And should th’ungenerous world upbraid thee
for mine and for thy father’s ill
A nameless mother oft shall assist thee
A hand unseen protect thee still.

And tho’ to rank and wealth a stranger
Thy life a humble course must run
Soon shalt thou learn to fly the danger
Which I too late have learnt to shun.

Meanwhile in these sequestered vallies
Here may’st thou live in safe content
For innocence may smile at malice
And thou-Oh! Thou art innocent.

Georgiana Duchess Devonshire Reynolds

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