Anna Laetitia Barbauld

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

On The Death of Princess Charlotte Poem by Anna Laetitia Barbauld


Yes, Britain mourns, as with electric touch,
For youth, for love, for happiness destroyed,
Her universal population melts
In grief spontaneous, and hard hearts are moved,
And rough unpolished natures learn to feel
For those they envied, leveled in the dust
By Fate's impartial stroke; and pulpits sound
With vanity and woe to earthly goods,
And urge and dry the tear.—Yet one there is
Who midst this general burst of grief remains
In strange tranquillity; whom not the stir
And long-drawn murmurs of the gathering crowd,
That by his very windows trail the pomp
Of hearse, and blazoned arms, and long array
Of sad funereal rites, nor the loud groans
And deep-felt anguish of a husband's heart,
Can move to mingle with this flood one tear:
In careless apathy, perhaps in mirth,
He wears the day. Yet is he near in blood,
The very stem on which this blossom grew,
And at his knees she fondled in the charm
And grace spontaneous which alone belongs
To untaught infancy:—Yet O forbear!
Nor deem him hard of heart; for awful, struck
By Heaven's severest visitation, sad,
Like a scathed oak amidst the forest trees,
Lonely he stands;—leaves bud, and shoot, and fall;
He holds no sympathy with living nature
Or time's incessant change. Then in this hour,
While pensive thought is busy with the woes
And restless change of poor humanity,
Think then, O think of him, and breathe one prayer,
From the full tide of sorrow spare one tear,
For him who does not weep!

Submitted: Monday, September 06, 2010

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