Anna Laetitia Barbauld

(20 June 1743 – 9 March 1825 / Leicestershire, England)

On The Death of Mrs. Martineau, Senr.


Ye who around this venerated bier
In pious anguish pour the tender tear,
Mourn not!—'Tis Virtue's triumph, Nature's doom,
When honoured Age, slow bending to the tomb,
Earth's vain enjoyments past, her transient woes,
Tastes the long sabbath of well-earned repose.
No blossom here, in vernal beauty shed,
No lover lies, warm from the nuptial bed;
Here rests “the full of days,”—each task fulfilled,
Each wish accomplished, and each passion stilled.
You raised her languid head, caught her last breath,
And cheered with looks of love the couch of death.

Yet mourn!—for sweet the filial sorrows flow,
When fond affection prompts the gush of woe;
No bitter drop, 'midst nature's kind relief,
Sheds gall into the fountain of your grief;
No tears you shed for patient love abused,
And counsel scorned, and kind restraints refused;
Not yours the pang the conscious bosom wrings,
When late Remorse inflicts her fruitless stings.
Living you honoured her, you mourn for dead;
Her God you worship, and her path you tread:
Your sighs shall aid reflection's serious hour,
And cherished virtues bless the kindly shower:
On the loved theme your lips unblamed shall dwell;
Your lives, more eloquent, her worth shall tell.—
Long may that worth, fair Virtue's heritage,
From race to race descend, from age to age!
Still purer with transmitted lustre shine,
The treasured birthright of the spreading line!

—For me, as o'er the frequent grave I bend,
And pensive down the vale of years descend;—
Companions, parents, kindred called to mourn,
Dropt from my side, or from my bosom torn;
A boding voice, methinks, in Fancy's ear
Speaks from the tomb, and cries “Thy friends are here!”

Submitted: Monday, September 06, 2010

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