John Dryden

(1631 - 1700 / England)

Epitaph On The Monument Of A Fair Maiden Lady, Who Died At Bath, And Is There Interred - Poem by John Dryden

Below this marble monument is laid
All that heaven wants of this celestial maid.
Preserve, O sacred tomb, thy trust consigned;
The mould was made on purpose for the mind:
And she would lose, if, at the latter day,
One atom could be mixed with other clay;
Such were the features of her heavenly face,
Her limbs were formed with such harmonious grace:
So faultless was the frame, as if the whole
Had been an emanation of the soul;
Which her own inward symmetry revealed,
And like a picture shone, in glass annealed;
Or like the sun eclipsed, with shaded light;
Too piercing, else, to be sustained by sight.
Each thought was visible that rolled within;
As through a crystal case the figured hours are seen.
And heaven did this transparent veil provide,
Because she had no guilty thoughts to hide.
All white, a virgin-saint, she sought the skies,
For marriage, though it sullies not, it dyes.
High though her wit, yet humble was her mind;
As if she could not, or she would not find
How much her worth transcended all her kind.
Yet she had learned so much of heaven below,
That when arrived, she scarce had more to know;
But only to refresh the former hint,
And read her Maker in a fairer print.
So pious, that she had no time to spare
For human thoughts, but seemed confined to prayer;
Yet in such charities she passed the day,
'Twas wondrous how she found an hour to pray.
A soul so calm, it knew not ebbs or flows,
Which passion could but curl, not discompose.
A female softness, with a manly mind;
A daughter duteous, and a sister kind;
In sickness patient, and in death resigned.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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