Editor’s Note'O vain expenditure! unhallowed waste!'
- O vain expenditure! unhallowed waste!
- Thus to bestow on the swathed infant heir
- Full flowing robes, too large for him to wear! –
- On his frail head, as if in mockery, placed
- That crown with which the ample brows are graced
- Of saints who, proud their Saviour's cross to bear,
- His blessed steps pursue with ceaseless care,
- Through arduous ways to do His bidding haste!
- Why should we give to the close-folded rose
- Those glowing tints that glad the gazer's eye?
- Soon shall it brightly blossom where it grows;
- Or, if at once transported to the sky,
- Such colours in that temperature disclose
- As here e'en light from heaven could ne'er supply.
- pg 189 The Infant soul is as a frozen lake,
- O'er which Heav'n smiles and playful breezes stray;
- It cannot smile as yet, nor lightly play,
- Nor of the skies one soft bright image take.
- But soon the slumbering waters are awake,
- Released from durance by the kindly ray;
- Then see it laugh beneath the eye of Day!
- Its lapsing bosom every breath can shake,
- Unconsciousness, our spirits' primal frost,
- Yields, 'sure as day to night', to Pow'r supreme:
- How unlike that which not the fervid beam
- Of Love can melt, in souls for ever lost! –
- Amid that genial warmth self-frozen – grown
- No transient ice but undissolving stone!
Page 188. 'O vain expenditure! unhallowed waste!', published in Aids to Reflection (sixth edition, 2 vols, 1848) ii. 313–14. SC is arguing that given the limited capacities of the infant, regeneration cannot be accomplished by infant baptism. Compare 'Mystic Doctrine of Baptism' above, pp. 193–4. Line 24: '"Sure as day to night"' – perhaps alluding to Polonius's 'it must follow as the night the day / Thou canst not then be false to any man' (Hamlet, 1.iii.78–9).