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Epitaph On Miss Stanley, In Holyrood Church, Southampton

James Thomson 1700 (Port Glasgow) – 1748 (London)

E. S.
Once a lively image of human nature,
Such as God made it
When he pronounced every work of his to be good.
To the memory of Elizabeth Stanley,
Daughter of George and Sarah Stanley;
Who to all the beauty, modesty,
And gentleness of nature,
That ever adorned the most amiable woman,
Joined all the fortitude, elevation,
And vigour of mind,
That ever exalted the most heroical man;
Who having lived the pride and delight of her parents,
The joy, the consolation, and pattern of her friends,
A mistress not only of the English and French,
But in a high degree of the Greek and Roman learning,
Without vanity or pedantry,
At the age of eighteen,
After a tedious, painful, desperate illness,
Which, with a Roman spirit,
And a Christian resignation,
She endured so calmly, that she seemed insensible
To all pain and suffering, except that of her friends,
Gave up her innocent soul to her Creator,
And left to her mother, who erected this monument,
The memory of her virtues for her greatest support;
Virtues which, in her sex and station of life,
Were all that could be practised,
And more than will be believed,
Except by those who know what this inscription relates.

Here, Stanley, rest! escaped this mortal strife,
Above the joys, beyond the woes of life,
Fierce pangs no more thy lively beauties stain,
And sternly try thee with a year of pain;
No more sweet patience, feigning oft relief,
With tender art to save her anxious groan,
No more thy bosom presses down its own;
Now well-earned peace is thine, and bliss sincere:
Ours be the lenient, not unpleasing tear!
O born to bloom, then sink beneath the storm;
To show us virtue in her fairest form;
To show us artless reason's moral reign,
What boastful science arrogates in vain;
The obedient passions knowing each their part;
Calm light the head, and harmony the heart!
Yes, we must follow soon, will glad obey;
When a few suns have rolled their cares away,
Tired with vain life, will close the willing eye:
'Tis the great birthright of mankind to die.
Blessed be the bark that wafts us to the shore,
Where death-divided friends shall part no more:
To join thee there, here with thy dust repose,
Is all the hope thy hapless mother knows.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:57 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 2,150
Words 391
Stanzas 2
Stanza Lengths 30, 23

James Thomson

James Thomson, who wrote under the pseudonym Bysshe Vanolis, was a Scottish Victorian-era poet famous primarily for the long poem The City of Dreadful Night, an expression of bleak pessimism in a dehumanized, uncaring urban environment. more…

All James Thomson poems | James Thomson Books

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