Mary Barber

(1690-1757 / England)

Occasion'D By Reading The Memoirs Of Anne Of Austria - Poem by Mary Barber

Ye heedless Fair, who pass the live--long Day,
In Dress and Scandal, Gallantry and Play;
Who thro' new Scenes of Pleasure hourly run,
Whilst Life's important Business is undone;
Look here, when guilty Conquests make you vain,
And see, how sad Remorse shuts up the Scene.

If future Bliss, or Misery, must flow
From what the Heart delights in here below,
Think how these Habits, rooted in the Breast,
Will fit you for a Commerce with the Blest.

Ye Politicians, who, in Courts to shine,
Study the Maxims of the Florentine;
Who, void of Virtue, anxious to be great,
Would rise, tho' on the Ruins of the State;
See how delusive are Ambition's Dreams,
See Providence defeating all your Schemes:
The Hand divine the well--laid Plot prevents,
And dashes all with unforeseen Events.
Yet the short--sighted Atheist dares advance,
These wondrous Changes are the Work of Chance.
Not so this pious, penetrating Dame,
Who to the sacred Fountain trac'd the Stream:
Like lovely Hertford, who her Hours employs,
To form her Mind for never--fading Joys.

Excelling Fair! whom All so justly prize;
Who, in a Court, find Leisure to be wise;
Humane and humble, pious and sincere;
Who walk, untainted, thro' infectious Air;
Thou Honour to thy Sex! may I pursue
The Paths of Wisdom, early trod by you!
I, who am destin'd to a low Estate,
Free from the Vanities that vex the Great;
Blest with a Happiness to Courts unknown;
For I, thank Heav'n, may call my Hours my own:
O may I pass those Hours in such a Way,
As may prepare me for the last, great Day!
That I may, unappall'd, lift up my Head,
When the Arch--Angel calls--Arise, ye Dead.
When all the haughty, pompous Sons of Dust,
Who here in fleeting Treasures plac'd their Trust;
Who here, to their Confusion largely quaff'd
Prosperity's intoxicating Draught;
Till drunk with Blessings, they despis'd their God,
Arraign'd his Wifdom, and defy'd his Rod;
Too late shall find, that Arm they durst oppose,
Can pour eternal Vengeance on his Foes.

Reflect, my Soul, that Day is drawing near;
And timely think, what was thy Business here.
O Thou, whose Arm, reach'd down from Heav'n to save,
So lately snatch'd me from the op'ning Grave;
Who bow'd thine Ear, nor let me sue in vain,
Reliev'd my Sickness, and remov'd my Pain;
In hallow'd Strains, O, teach my Soul to soar,
To celebrate the Mercies I adore!
To Thee alone to dedicate my Lays,
Who heard my Vows, and added to my Days!
Watch o'er my Heart, fix ev'ry Duty there,
And make Eternity my only Care.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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