Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LINES WRITTEN ON THE DEATH OF MRS. HEMANS, by MARIA ABDY



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LINES WRITTEN ON THE DEATH OF MRS. HEMANS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Yes, she has left us. She, whose gifted lays
Last Line: Our best distinction in a christian's name.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Maria; Abdy, Mira; M. A.
Subject(s): Hemans, Felicia (1793-1835)


Yes, she has left us. She, whose gifted lays
So nobly earned a nation's love and praise,
Entranced the high and lofty ones of earth, --
And shed a radiance o'er the peasant's hearth,
She from the world is taken. Her sweet lute
Hangs on the willow desolate and mute;
And while we half unconsciously repeat
Strains we have learned as household words to greet,
How mournful is the thought, that she can pour
Songs of such touching melody no more!

Oh! what a range of mind was hers, how bright
Her pages seemed with Inspiration's light;
And yet, though skilled to dazzle and o'erwhelm,
Queen of Imagination's fairy realm,
Her highest excellence appeared to be
In the calm region of reality.
In Nature's wondrous workings lay her art,
From that exhaustless mine, the human heart,
She brought her gems. 'T was hers, with gentle skill
The slumbering feelings to arouse and thrill;
With colours not more beautiful than true
The modest virtues of her sex she drew.
"Records of Woman." At that name arise
Fair shapes of truth and goodness to our eyes:
Not the gay phantoms seen in Fancy's trance,
Not the bright paragons of old romance,
Nor yet the wonders of a later age,
The heroines of Reason's formal page,
Full of cold, calculating, worldly sense,
And self-elate in moral excellence!
No -- at Religion's pure and sacred flame
Her torch she kindled -- 't was her wish and aim
That in her female portraits we should see
The blest effects of humble piety,
Proving that, in this world of sin and strife,
None could fulfil the charities of life,
Or bear its trials, save the path they trod
Were hallowed by the guiding grace of God.

And well her spirit in her life was shown,
No character more lovely than her own
Fell from her gifted pen -- though numbers breathed
Her name, though laurel bands her brow enwreathed,
She sought not in the world's vain scenes to roam,
Her duties were her joys, her sphere her home:
And Memory still a pensive pleasure blends
With the affliction of her weeping friends,
When they recall the meek calm lowliness
With which she bore the blaze of her success:
But trials soon as well as triumphs came,
Sickness subdued her weak and languid frame,
Then was she patient, tranquil, and resigned,
Religion soothed and fortified her mind;
She knew that for the blessed Saviour's sake,
In whom she trusted, she should sleep to wake
In glory, and she yielded up her breath,
Feeling she won eternity by death.

Oh! may her holy principles impress
The soul of each surviving poetess;
No trivial charge is to her care consigned,
Who gives to public view her stores of mind:
Even though her sum of treasures may be small,
Good can be worked, if Heaven permit, by all:
She who a single talent holds in store,
By patient zeal may make that little more;
And though but few, alas! can boast the powers
Of her now lost, the gift may still be ours
Humbly to imitate her better part;
And strive to elevate each reader's heart
To themes of purer and of holier birth
Than the low pleasures and vain pomps of earth.
Never may Woman's lays their service lend
Vice to encourage, soften, or defend,
Nor may we in our own conceit be wise,
Weaving frail webs of mere moralities:
No, may we ever on His grace reflect,
To whom we owe our cherished intellect,
Deem that such powers in trust to us were given
To serve and glorify our Lord in heaven,
And place, amid the highest joys of fame,
Our best distinction in a Christian's name.





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