Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VERSES TO THE MEMORY OF MARY FLETCHER, by BERNARD BARTON



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VERSES TO THE MEMORY OF MARY FLETCHER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Enthusiast, fanatic and fool
Last Line: Thy heritage among the saints!
Alternate Author Name(s): Quaker Poet
Subject(s): Death; Dead, The


ENTHUSIAST, fanatic, and fool,
Many who read thy life will style thee;
And others, more sedate and cool,
Will pity, who dare not revile thee.

For me, I feel, on laying down
The volume, neither power nor will
To ape the critic's frigid frown:
To flatter thee were idler still.

While living, praise of man to thee
Was nothing: o'er thy mouldering earth,
Its empty echo now would be
But mockery of thy Christian worth!

Nor would I, venerable shade!
Now touch such high and solemn theme,
Or this poor tribute have essay'd,
If thus the unthinking world would deem.

But there are those, with whom the test
Of truth is not the Gospel creed;
To whom thy life will be a jest,
Thy path—a parable indeed!

And these, perchance to show their wit,
Will heap thy name with obloquy;
And o'er thy hallow'd pages sit,
"Drest up in brief authority."

To thee it matters not; but those
Who honour and revere thy name,
May be allow'd to interpose,
And vindicate thy well-earn'd fame.

Not for thy sake alone, but theirs
Who tread the path which thou hast trod;
The church, which prompted once thy prayers,
Thy faith, thy Saviour, and thy God!

These, with united voice demand
The payment of that sacred debt;
Due, in a favour'd Christian land,
When stars of righteousness have set.

Set, but to rise with holier light;
Eclips'd on earth, to shine in heaven;
How should the chill grave's transient night
Dim what Death's Conqueror had given?

And such wast thou: a prophetess
Worthy the church's earlier day;
In piety and faithfulness,
Proving, to love is to obey.

Sceptics may think thy life on earth
Was madness—an enthusiast's dream;
And folly, in its empty mirth,
Thy end devoid of honour deem.

But Faith, which owns thee unforgot,
For thy immortal spirit paints,
With children of the Lord thy lot,
Thy heritage among the Saints!





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