Lady Mary Wortley Montagu


An Elegy on Mrs. Thompson


Unhappy fair, by fatal love betray'd!
Must then thy beauties thus untimely fade!
And all thy blooming, soft, inspiring charms,
Become a prey to Death's destructive arms!
Though short thy day, and transient like the wind,
How far more blest than those yet left behind!
Safe in the grave thy griefs with thee remain;
And life's tempestuous billows break in vain.
Ye tender nymphs in lawless pastimes gay,
Who heedless down the paths of pleasures stray;
Though long secure, with blissful joys elate,
Yet pause and think of Arabella's fate;
For such may be your unexpected doom,
And your next pleasures lull you in the tomb.
But let it be the muse's gentle care
To shield from envy's rage the mould'ring fair;
To draw a veil o'er faults she can't defend;
And what prudes have devour'd, leave time to end:
Be it her part to drop a pitying tear,
And mourning sigh around thy sable bier,
Nor shall thy woes long glad th'ill-natur'd crowd,
Silent to praise, and in detraction loud:
When scandal, that through life each worth destroys,
And malice that embitters all our joys,
Shall in some ill-starr'd wretch find later stains,
And let thine rest, forgot as thy remains.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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