Anna Laetitia Barbauld

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

To Miss R.: On Her Attendance On Her Mother At Buxton - Poem by Anna Laetitia Barbauld

When blooming beauty in the noon of power,
While offered joys demand each sprightly hour,
With all that pomp of charms and winning mien
Which sure to conquer needs but to be seen;
When she, whose name the softest love inspires,
To the hushed chamber of Disease retires,
To watch and weep beside a parent's bed,
Catch the faint voice, and raise the languid head,
What mixt delight each feeling heart must warm!—
An angel's office suits an angel's form.

Thus the tall column graceful rears its head
To prop some mouldering tower with moss o'erspread,
Whose stately piles and arches yet display
The venerable graces of decay:
Thus round the withered trunk fresh shoots are seen
To shade their parent with a cheerful green.

More health, dear maid! thy soothing presence brings
Than purest skies, or salutary springs.
That voice, those looks such healing virtues bear,
Thy sweet reviving smiles might cheer despair;
On the pale lips detain the parting breath,
And bid hope blossom in the shades of death.
Beauty, like thine, could never reach a charm
So powerful to subdue, so sure to warm.
On her loved child behold the mother gaze,
In weakness pleased, and smiling through decays,
And leaning on that breast her cares assuage;—
How soft a pillow for declining age!

For this, when that fair frame must feel decay,—
Ye Fates protract it to a distant day,—
When thy approach no tumults shall impart,
Nor that commanding glance strike through the heart,
When meaner beauties shall have leave to shine,
And crowds divide the homage lately thine,
Not with the transient praise those charms can boast
Shall thy fair fame and gentle deeds be lost:
Some pious hand shall thy weak limbs sustain,
And pay thee back these generous cares again;
Thy name shall flourish, by the good approved,
Thy memory honoured, and thy dust beloved,


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010



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