Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley
Source type: book
Document type: poem
Document title: “Even as a Child”
Author(s): Riley, James Whitcomb
Edition: Memorial edition
Volume number: 8
Publisher: Harper and Brothers Publishers
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1916
Pagination: 2002

Riley, James Whitcomb. “Even as a Child.” The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley. Memorial ed. Vol. 8. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1916: p. 2002.
full text
William McKinley (death: poetry).
Named persons
From title page: The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley: Including Poems and Prose Sketches, Many of Which Have Not Heretofore Been Published; An Authentic Biography, an Elaborate Index and Numerous Illustrations in Color from Paintings by Howard Chandler Christy and Ethel Franklin Betts.


Even as a Child


EVEN as a child to whom sad neighbors speak
     In symbol, saying that his father “sleeps”—
Who feels their meaning, even as his cheek
     Feels the first tear-drop as it stings and leaps—
Who keenly knows his loss, and yet denies
     Its awful import—grieves unreconciled,
Moans, drowses—rouses, with new-drowning eyes—
                         Even as a child.

Even as a child; with empty, aimless hand
     Clasped sudden to the heart all hope deserts—
With tears that blur all lights on sea or land—
     The lip that quivers and the throat that hurts:
Even so, the Nation that has known his love
     Is orphaned now; and, whelmed in anguish wild
Knows but its sorrow and the ache thereof,
                         Even as a child.



top of page