Mother and Child
by Eugene Field
One night a tiny dewdrop fell
Into the bosom of a rose,
Dear little one, I love thee well,
Be ever here thy sweet repose!”
Seeing the rose with love bedight,
The envious sky frowned dark, and then
Sent forth a messenger of light
And caught the dewdrop up again.
Oh, give me back my heavenly child,
My love!” the rose in anguish cried;
Alas! the sky triumphant smiled,
And so the flower, heart-broken, died.
The theme of “Mother and Child” is the love of a mother for her child. It shows how a child could be a blessing to a mother in that her entire life circulates around him or her. Her love for her child has no comparison to any other type of love on this planet, and the loss of her child could lead to the end of her life as well.
The speaker in this poem is a mother, who is talking to an anonymous listener, though it seems she is talking to the sky. The scene of this poem takes place in a garden, where a rose is blooming and dewdrops are forming. The tone shifts from happiness to sadness and finally to death. The entire poem is written in figurative language. The poem begins with the portrayal of a dewdrop: “One night a tiny dewdrop fell / Into the bosom of a rose.” The rose here is used as a metaphor for a mother, and the dewdrop as a newborn child that comes into bosom of a mother. The mother expresses her happiness on the arrival of this newborn child: “Dear little one, I love thee well,” she says adding, “Be ever here thy sweet repose!”
In the very next stanza, she expresses her love in the same way that a beautiful full-bloomed rose would to a dewdrop. Sadly, she goes on to describe that heaven has something else in store for her future. The speaker uses personification to explain her misfortune by giving human characteristics to the sky: “Seeing the rose with love bedight, / The envious sky frowned dark.” The speaker expresses her sad plight that heaven sent rays of sun that dried up the dewdrop, thereby taking back her child. Therefore, in the final stanza, the speaker personifies this rose to have feelings such as happiness and sorrow. The rose cries and asks heaven to give back her child, since he is an infant: “Oh, give me back my heavenly child.” She feels dejected and becomes distressed that heaven has not heard her, and uses irony: “Alas! the sky triumphant smiled.” This shows the sky is successful in implementing its heavenly mandate. By the end, the beautiful and loving rose could not bear the pain of her child’s death, “And so the flower, heart-broken, died.”
One night a tiny dewdrop fell A
Into the bosom of a rose, B
“Dear little one, I love thee well, A
Be ever here thy sweet repose!” B
The poem is written in iambic meter, such as in “One night a tiny dewdrop fell / Into the bosom of a rose.” Alliteration appears in some of the lines, such as the “l” sound in “little, love” and the “s” sound in “sky, smiled.” This helps in creating a singsong melody. The diction and voice in the poem is connotative that is expressed through the use of metaphors, similes, and personification to make the speech livelier. Assonance is found in the words “triumphant, smiled,” where the “i” sound is used to bring harmony to this line. There is no internal rhyme and repetition. Enjambment shows up in the middle lines of all three stanzas such as “The envious sky frowned dark, and then/ Sent forth a messenger of light” whereas end-stopped line comes at the end of each stanza. The literary device of euphony is also found “Sent forth a messenger of light,” which involves the use of smooth vowels and consonants, producing melodious sounds.
Guidance for Usage of Quotes
This poem is a beautiful example of a mother’s love for her child. This is depicted by metaphors and personification, where a rose is imagined to be a mother and a dewdrop as an infant. In addition, her love is deep to the point that she could not bear the death of her child, and passed away in the end. Thus, it has a message of great love of a mother for her child.
Children can praise their mother’s love for them by dedicating this poem to their mothers on Mother’s Day. Mothers, too, can express their love by quoting lines that demonstrate their experiences, such as:
“One night a tiny dewdrop fell
Into the bosom of a rose,–
“Dear little one, I love thee well,
Be ever here thy sweet repose!”