To Amira on the Sudden Death of her Mother

Though nature, friendship, filial love awake

The springs of grief, and though the sudden shock

O’erpower’d the mind, (too weak to meet surprize!)

At length, my dear Amira, be our griefs

Restrain’d, obedient to the voice divine

Which calms the winds and seas, that sovereign voice

Which bids the tempest of the mind – “Be still.”

Reflection now returning, may our souls

Adore submissive his disposing hand,

Who gives and takes our comforts as he pleases,

Still wise and good in all. O let our hearts

Complain no more, for through the cloud of woe

Kind Mercy shines, her beams disperse the gloom,

As sun-beams chase the fragments of a storm.

Look up, Amira, see the Father’s hand,

Indulgent, tender, in the stroke we mourn!

Say, could the awful messenger appear

In a more gentle form? how soft the touch

That loosen’d nature’s bands, dissolv’d the tie

That held the weary spirit, prison’d long,

In a frail, ruin’d tenement below,

And bade her rise to liberty and joy!

Say do we mourn the friend, the parent lost? –

– Ah no, retract the word, she is but call’d,

Before us call’d to her celestial home,

That blissful home, so long, so much desir’d;

And hope soft whispers we shall meet her there.

Meet her – but how? enfeebled, bent with years,

Worn out with pains, her mental powers decay’d,

And lost to social joys? though hope, and trust, And patient resignation shone serene,

The Christian’s pattern, and the friend’s support:

Their work fulfill’d, those graces have resign’d

Their seat to perfect joy and endless praise.

How shall we meet her in the blest abode? Urania, come, thy fairest colours bring,

Present the dear departed to our view

Such as she shines amid the blissful choir.

Let youth immortal, drest in heavenly smiles

And winning graces, o’er her form diffuse Its lively bloom; while dignity and love

Sit on her aspect, such as angels wear!

But not thy noblest strokes, thy sweetest force,

In equal colours e’er can represent'

A soul made perfect in the realms of light,

And in her Saviour’s lovely image drest.

Nor can thy tints, though borrow’d from the sky,

Describe the vigorous life, the active joy

Which animates a citizen of Heaven.

Urania, drop thy pencil, take the lyre,

Not to deplore the friend, the parent lost,

But to congratulate the saint arriv’d,

From life’s long, painful voyage safe arriv’d,

And crown’d, triumphant, on the blissful shore,

With perfect pleasure, and eternal peace.

O could thy lyre but faintly emulate

On earth, the strains which her rapt ear imbibes,

Her voice melodious joins; the notes would charm

The mournful memory of her loss to rest,

And bid desire, and faith, and hope arise

To share her transports in that world of joy.

O may that glorious, happy world emit

Its sweet, though distant radiance to our hearts,

And raise, and fix our hopes and wishes there!

Has not the dawn of that eternal day

Which God’s unclouded smile diffuses there,

Sometimes, Amira, beam’d a cheering ray

On these dark scenes? and shall that dawn be lost

To shine no more? – impossible – as soon

The sun shall faint amid his morning way,

And leave the world to everlasting night.

That grace omnipotent, that steadfast truth

On which, below, her Heaven-born hope reclin’d,

Who now rejoices in that hope fulfill’d,

Invites our humble trust, forbids our fear.

May the same grace that led her safely through

The cares, the dangers , and the pains of time,

Preserve, support, and guide us in the way,

The living way by which she reach’d the skies!

Then shall we join with her the heavenly choir, Partake the bliss, and tune the raptur’d song

To Jesus, who prepares a mansion there

For all who love his name, and trust his grace:

To Jesus, who from Death’s envenom’d dart

Extracts the poison, fatal now no more:

That foe to nature is become a friend;

He, at his Lord’s command, unfolds the gate

To life, and liberty, and endless joy.

Text: 1780, vol. 3, pp. 39-42; autograph; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 2, pp. 26-27.