Epitaph. On Matilda.

A poem by Thomas Gent

Sacred to Pity! is upraised this stone,
The humble tribute of a friend unknown;
To grant the beauteous wreck its hallow'd claim,
And add to misery's scroll another name.
Poor lost MATILDA! now in silence laid
Within the early grave thy sorrows made.
Sleep on!--his heart still holds thy image dear,
Who view'd, through life, thy errors with a tear;
Who ne'er with stoic apathy repress'd
The heartfelt sigh for loveliness distress'd.
That sigh for thee shall ne'er forget to heave;
'Tis all he now can give, or thou receive.
When last I saw thee in thy envied bloom,
That promised health and joy for years to come,
Methought the lily nature proudly gave,
Would never wither in th' untimely grave.

Ah, sad reverse! too soon the fated hour
Saw the dire tempest 'whelm th' expanding flower!
Then from thy tongue its music ceased to flow;
Thine eye forgot to gleam with aught but woe;
Peace fled thy breast; invincible despair
Usurp'd her seat, and struck his daggers there.
Did not the unpitying world thy sorrows fly?
And, ah! what then was left thee--but to die!
Yet not a friend beheld thy parting breath,
Or mingled solace with the pangs of death:
No priest proclaim'd the erring hour forgiven,
Or sooth'd thy spirit to its native heav'n:
But Heaven, more bounteous, bade the pilgrim come,
And hovering angels hail'd their sister home.
I, where the marble swells not, to rehearse
Thy hapless fate, inscribe my simple verse.
Thy tale, dear shade, my heart essays to tell;
Accept its offering, while it heaves--farewell!

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