General Poetry posted November 8, 2018

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A Sonnet

Homeless by Birth

by Dolly'sPoems

This boy so fair of face and eyes of blue,
so innocent and pure as falling snow,
born out of favour, yet his blood was true
outside of wedlock, poverty would know.

A Mother's curse can damn a life to hell,
the bastard child who no one cares to own,
is thwarted from his birth as all would tell;
and never wipes the stigma from his bone.

For kings may bed their whores and sow their seed,
without a care for consequential heirs,
for no more than a dog is said to breed,
a godly child from these illicit fares.

Without a name, he exists unknown,
a homeless man who dies without a headstone.


Before the 20th century it was illegal for illegitimate children to inherit, so among more prosperous families you may find that a trust was set up to care for his or her welfare. Most were not so fortunate. Illegitimacy was thought so shameful that many murder victims were little babies.

We don't think twice about illegitimacy now; it is really hard to imagine that the shame was once so awful that women were prepared to kill their babies.
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