[Page 51]

Written for a Gentlewoman in Distress. To her Grace Adelida, Dutchess of Shrewsbury
[ed.] "The wife of Charles, first Duke of Shrewsbury, whom she married in 1705, Adelaide Paleotti was the widowed daughter of the Marquess Paleotti of Bologna. [...] The Duchess was on excellent terms with Swift and gave him his nickname 'Presto'." (Tucker [1992], 211) (AH)

1 Might I inquire the Reasons of my Fate,
2 Or with my Maker dare expostulate;
3 Did I, in prosp'rous Days, despise the Poor,
4 Or drive the friendless Stranger from my Door?
5 Was not my Soul pour'd out for the Distress'd?
6 Did I not vindicate the Poor oppress'd?
7 Did not the Orphan's Cry with me prevail?
8 Did I not weep the Woes I could not heal?
9 Why then, Thou gracious, Thou all-pow'rful God,
10 Why do I feel th' Oppressor's Iron Rod?
[Page 52]
11 Why thus the Scorners cruel Taunts endure,
12 Who basely fret the Wounds, they will not cure?
13 O Thou, whose Mercy does to All extend,
14 Say, shall my Sorrows never, never, end?
15 Let not my Tears for ever, fruitless, flow;
16 Commiserate a Wretch, o'erwhelm'd with Woe;
17 No longer let Distress my Bosom tear:
18 O shield me from the Horrors of Despair!
19 Forgive me, Madam, that I thus impart
20 The Throbs, the Anguish, of a breaking Heart.
21 Oft, when my weary'd Eyes can weep no more,
22 To sooth my Woes, I read your Letters o'er.
23 Goodness, and Wit, and Humour, there I find;
24 And view with Joy those Pictures of your Mind;
25 With Pleasure on the lov'd Resemblance gaze,
26 Till peaceful Slumbers on my Eye-lids seize.
27 Then, then, Imagination glads my Sight
28 With transient Images of past Delight;
[Page 53]
29 My aking Heart of ev'ry Care beguiles;
30 Then Talbot lives, and Adelida smiles.
31 Delightful Forms! why will you fleet away,
32 And leave me to the Terrors of the Day?
33 In vain from Reason I expect Relief;
34 For sad Reflection doubles ev'ry Grief.
35 Some of my Friends in Death's cold Arms I see;
36 Others, tho, living, yet are dead to me?
37 Of Friends, and Children both, I am bereft,
38 And soon must lose the only Blessing left;
39 A Husband form'd for Tenderness and Truth,
40 The lov'd, the kind Companion of my Youth;
41 With him, thro' various Storms of Fate I pass'd;
42 Relentless Fate! And must we part at last?
43 O King of Terrors, I invoke thy Pow'r;
44 Oh! stand between me and that dreadful Hour;
45 From that sad Hour thy wretched Suppliant save;
46 Oh! shield me from it! Hide me in the Grave!


  • TEI/XML [chunk] (XML - 111K / ZIP - 12K) / ECPA schema (RNC - 357K / ZIP - 73K)
  • Plain text [excluding paratexts] (TXT - 2.1K / ZIP - 1.3K)

Facsimile (Source Edition)

(Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Harding C 3644].)



All Images (PDF - 3.5M)

About this text

Title (in Source Edition): Written for a Gentlewoman in Distress. To her Grace Adelida, Dutchess of Shrewsbury.
Author: Mary Barber
Themes: grief; sadness; melancholy
Genres: heroic couplet; lament
References: DMI 11365

Text view / Document view

Source edition

Barber, Mary, ca. 1690-1757. Poems on Several Occasions [poems only]. London: Printed for C. Rivington, at the Bible and Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1734, pp. 51-53. xlviii,283,[7]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T42622; DMI 519; Foxon p. 45) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Harding C 3644].)

Editorial principles

Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Mary Barber