Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ODE TO DEATH, by CHARLOTTE SMITH



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ODE TO DEATH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Friend of the wretched! Wherefore should the eye
Last Line: Nor pause in fearful dread before the opening grave!
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Charlotte Turner
Subject(s): Death; Dead, The


Friend of the wretched! wherefore should the eye
Of blank Despair, whence tears have ceased to flow,
Be turn'd from thee? -- Ah! wherefore fears to die
He, who compell'd each poignant grief to know,
Drains to its lowest dregs the cup of woe?

Would Cowardice postpone thy calm embrace,
To linger out long years in torturing pain?
Or not prefer thee to the ills that chase
Him, who too much impoverish'd to obtain
From BRITISH THEMIS right, implores her aid in vain!

Sharp goading Indigence who would not fly,
That urges toil the exhausted strength above?
Or shun the once fond friend's averted eye?
Or who to thy asylum not remove,
To lose the wasting pain of unrequited love?

Can then the wounded wretch who must deplore
What most she loved, to thy cold arms consign'd,
Who hears the voice that sooth'd her soul no more,
Fear thee, O Death! -- Or hug the chains that bind
To joyless, cheerless life, her sick, reluctant mind?

Oh! Misery's Cure; who e'er in pale dismay
Has watch'd the angel form they could not save,
And seen their dearest blessing torn away,
May well the terrors of thy triumph brave,
Nor pause in fearful dread before the opening grave!





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