[Page [116]]

TO THE NUNS OF BODNEY.

1 YE holy women, say! will ye accept
2 The passing tribute of a humble friend?
3 Stranger indeed to you and to your faith,
4 But O! I hope not stranger to the zeal,
5 Which warm'd your bosoms in Religion's cause.
6 When impious men commanded you to break
7 The vow which bound your souls, and which in youth
8 Warm Piety's emphatic lips had made.
9 Say! will ye suffer me on that rude tomb,
10 Where she reposes (whose benignant smile,
11 Whose animated, life-inspiring eye,
12 And faded form, majestic, still appears
[Page 117]
13 In Thought's delusive hour) to shed a tear?
14 On her, whose sainted look, though seen but once,
15 I never can forget, till Time shall wrap
16 The veil of Death around me, and make dumb
17 The voice of Memory. Ah! "how low she lies!"
18 No marble monument to speak her praise,
19 And tell the world that here a DILLON rests.
20 One, who in beauty's prime forsook the world,
21 And, self-bereav'd of all it holds most dear,
22 Retir'd, to pass the pilgrimage of life,
23 In solemn prayer and peaceful solitude.
24 Ah, vain desire! Ambition's scowling eye
25 Must see the cloister, as the palace, low,
26 And meek-ey'd Quiet quit her last abode,
27 Ere he can pause to look upon the wreck,
28 And rue the wild impatience of his hand.
29 Hail! blessed spirit! This rude cypher'd stone,
30 On which a sister's pensive eye shall muse
31 In sorrow, and another relative
32 In sweet, though mournful, recollection, bend,
33 Shall call a tear into the stranger's eye
34 Whene'er he hears the tale, yet make him proud
35 That Britain's hospitable land should yield
36 All that you could accept, an humble grave.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): TO THE NUNS OF BODNEY.
Themes:
Genres: blank verse; ode

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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. [116]-117.  (ESTC T143264)

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