Mary Barber

(1690-1757 / England)

The Widow Gordon's Petition - Poem by Mary Barber

To the Right Hon. the Lady Carteret.

Weary'd with long Attendance on the Court,
You, Madam, are the Wretch's last Resort.
Eternal King! if here in vain I cry,
Where shall the Fatherless and Widow fly?

How blest are they, who sleep among the Dead,
Nor hear their Childrens piercing Cries for Bread!

When your lov'd Off--spring gives your Soul Delight,
Reflect how mine are irksome to my Sight:
O think, how must a wretched Mother grieve,
Who hears the Want she never can relieve!

An Evil preys upon my helpless Son,
(How many Ways the Wretched are undone!)
Cruel Distemper! to assault his Sight,
And rob him of his only Joy, the Light!
His Anguish makes my weary'd Eyes o'erflow,
And loads me with unutterable Woe.

No friendly Voice my lonely Mansion cheers;
All fly th' Infection of the Widow's Tears:
Ev'n those, whose Pity eas'd my Wants with Bread,
Are now, O sad Reverse! my greatest Dread.
My mournful Story will no more prevail,
And ev'ry Hour I dread a dismal Jail:
I start at each imaginary Sound,
And Horrors have encompass'd me around.

Tremble, ye Daughters, who at Ease recline,
Lest you should know a Misery like mine.
Ye now, unmov'd, can hear the Wretched moan;
And feel no Wants, yourselves oppress'd by none;
Fly from the Sight of Woes ye will not share,
And leave the helpless Orphan to despair.
But know, that dreadful Hour is drawing near,
When you'll be treated, as you've acted here:
To you no more the Wretched shall complain;
'Twill be your Turn to weep, and sue in vain.

Not so the Fair, with godlike Mercy blest,
Who feels another's Anguish in her Breast;
Who never hears the Wretched sigh in vain,
Herself distress'd till she relieves their Pain.

This Fame reports, fair Carteret, of you;
This blest Report encourag'd me to sue.
O Angel--Goodness, hear, and ease my Moan,
Nor let your Mercy fail in me alone!
So at the last Tribunal will I stand,
With my poor Orphans, plac'd on either Hand;
There, with my Cries, my Saviour I'll assail;
(For at His Bar the Widow's Tears prevail)
That she, who made the Fatherless her Care,
The Fulness of celestial Joys may share;
That she a Crown of Glory may receive,
Who snatch'd me from Destruction, and the Grave.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010



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