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EDITHA

1 BREATHING the violet-scented gale,
2 Near to a river's limpid source,
3 Which, through a wide-extended vale,
4 Wound slowly on its sleeping course,
5 Attended by a youthful pair,
6 With rubied lip and roving eye,
7 Oft would fair Editha repair,
8 And let her children wander nigh.
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9 There pleas'd behold their footsteps turn
10 To each new object in their way,
11 Their ringlets glittering in the sun,
12 Their faces careless, blythe, and gay.
13 Once, when they drest their flaxen hair,
14 With flow'rets wild of various hue,
15 And with a proud, exulting air,
16 To their delighted parent drew:
17 "Ah! thus may every day arise!
18 " And pleasure thus your hearts pervade! "
19 The widow'd mother fondly cries,
20 " Before the youthful blossoms fade.
21 "My sighs are all dispers'd in air,
22 " Resign'd to fate, I weep no more,
23 "Your welfare now is all my care,
24 " Yet am I constant as before.
25 "The world, because a vermil bloom,
26 " Tinges my yet unfading cheek,
27 "Says I forget my William's tomb,
28 " A new and earthly love to seek.
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29 "Because I join the social train,
30 " With lip that wears a kindred smile;
31 "And a gay sonnet's lively strain,
32 " Does oft the lonely hour beguile:
33 "Because no longer now I mourn,
34 " With sweeping robes of sable hue;
35 "No more I clasp the marble urn,
36 " Or vainly bid the world adieu.
37 "Ah! ill my secret soul they know,
38 " Where my lost hero still remains,
39 "Where memory makes my bosom glow,
40 " And binds me still in closer chains.
41 "Whoe'er hath seen my William's form,
42 " Heighten'd with every martial grace,
43 "The ever-varying, unknown charm,
44 " Wich beam'd in his expressive face;
45 "Or heard his fine ideas try,
46 " In Fancy's fairy garb to teach,
47 "While the sweet language of his eye,
48 " Excell'd the eloquence of speech,
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49 "Could ne'er suppose my faith would fail,
50 " Or aught again this heart enslave;
51 "That absence would o'er love prevail,
52 " Or hope be bounded by the grave.
53 "Could all but I his merit know?
54 " His wit and talents see?
55 "And is his name by all below
56 " Remember'd, but by me?
57 "No, ne'er will I the memory lose,
58 " Though from my sight thy form is flown,
59 "Of tenderness for other's woes,
60 " And noble firmness in thy own.
61 "No slavish fear thy soul deprest,
62 " Of Death, or his attendant train;
63 "For in thy pure and spotless breast,
64 " The fear of heav'n did only reign.
65 "Thus, when the still-unsated waves
66 " Spread o'er thy head their whelming arms,
67 "When horrid darkness reign'd around,
68 " And lightnings flash'd their dire alarms,
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69
* I know not if I have expressed myself with much clearness here, but I meant to describe a sea-fight as concisely as possible.
"When, wing'd with death, each moment flew,
70 " And blood the foaming ocean stain'd,
71 "Thy courage cool, consistent, true,
72 " Its native energy maintain'd.
73 "And when the fatal moment came,
74 " The bullet enter'd in thy side,
75 "Only thy spirit's beauteous frame,
76 " Its prisoner flying, droop'd and died.
77 "This is it that consoles my mind,
78 " Which to my love aspiring flies,
79 "And makes me hope, in future days,
80 " To hail my William in the skies.
81 "Should tears from my pale eyelids steal,
82 " I teach my children's how to flow,
83 "And make their little bosoms feel,
84 " Before their time, the touch of woe.
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85 "I will not weep! the world shall see
86 " That I a nobler tribute pay;
87 "More grateful both to heaven and thee,
88 " By guiding them in virtue's way. "
89 Embracing then her fondest cares,
90 She cast her raptur'd eyes above,
91 And breath'd to heav'n emphatic pray'rs,
92 Of mingled reverence and love.
             APRIL 15, 1795.

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Title (in Source Edition): EDITHA
Themes:
Genres: ode; address

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Source edition

Elegies and Other Small Poems, by Matilda Betham. Ipswich: Printed by W. Burrell, and sold by Longman, Paternoster-Row, and Jermyn and Forster, Ipswich, 1797, pp. [102]-107.  (ESTC T143264)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.