Child Among the Rocks, from "Picture Poesies"

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Houghton's image of a little girl frightened by a crab at the seaside first appeared in "Home Thoughts and Home Scenes" (1865), engraved by the Dalziel Brothers and published by Routledge. This impression was reissued in "Picture Poesies" (1874) to illustrate a poem by Dora Greenwell. The scholar Forrest Reid has pointed to unsettling elements in Houghton's images of children in "Home Thoughts and Home Scenes." Works that at first glance seem to celebrate middle class domesticity often contain bizarre or disturbing details that point to darker levels of the human psyche as revealed in the play of children.

Child Among the Rocks

Under thy feet are rocks, and o'er thee
Hang the heavy cliffs, and still before thee
Ocean streches till it meets the sky;
Seest though the sea-birds rising, falling
On the breakers, Hearest thou the calling
Of the winds that wail and hurry by?

Dost thou watch the ships slow sailing? Nearer
Lies thou world oh young Columbus! Dearer
Than each far sought prize;
Rich in joy--in wonder still unfailing.
Star and shell and glistening sea-weed trailing
In the pool that nearest lies.

Childhood's realm is rich, yet straitly bounded,
Like a vale by giant hills surrounded;
Lies it ever hidden, safe and sweet,
Warm mid' sheltering rocks that guard and love it.
Heaven around, within it, and above it,
Heaven beneath its feet!

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