To Philander

While in the arms of death your Delia sleeps

And o’er her ashes fond remembrance weeps;

In tender grief let Friendship claim a share,

Friendship, that fain would ease Philander’s care.

But say, is this the whole of Friendship’s lore,

To sympathize, to pity, to deplore?

Be her’s the effort (else how weakly kind)

To cheer, to elevate the drooping mind.

And weak (unaided) would the effort prove;

But Heaven-born Hope assists the voice of love.

See my Philander o’er your Delia’s tomb

Hope smiles and dissipates the dreary gloom.

Celestial comforter! she points your eye

To life, to happiness beyond the sky.

Attend her cheering whisper to your heart!

“There lives your once-lov’d Delia’s nobler part.

“Can you regret that from the scenes of woe,

“The long affliction she sustain’d below,

“Heaven call’d her spirit from its dark abode

“To the bright mansions of her Saviour God?

“Her mortal part, beneath his watchful eye,

“Secure (though mouldering in the grave) shall lie,

“Till the last trumpet’s animating breath

“Pierce through the boundless monarchy of Death;

“Collect each atom of the sleeping dust

“And in immortal vigour raise the just.

“The body then, restor’d, renew’d refin’d,

“Shall join in perfect bliss, its partner mind;

“Array’d in pure etherial radiance rise,

“Mix with the bright assembly of the skies;

“In joys unknown to thought for ever prove

“The boundless blessings of redeeming love;

“And every tongue, to rapture tun’d, proclaim

‘The endless glories of the Saviour’s name.

“Then shall Philander and his Delia join

“With Heaven’s immortal choir, the song divine –

“Look forward to the bright, the glorious hour

“And trust your Saviour’s mercy, truth and power.”

O my Philander, may the blissful ray

Which points our wishes to the seats of day,

Still on our hearts its healing lustre shed,

Amid the gloomy mansions of the dead!

In all her force may Hope celestial glow

Till Heaven’s fair dawn beam o’er the shades of woe;

Till Faith shall with seraphic ardour rise,

And claim the promis’d glories of the skies;

Till that illustrious, that transporting hour,

When Death for ever shall resign his power:

When Joy shall wipe the tear from every eye

And Faith and Hope in perfect vision die.

Text: 1780, vol. 3, pp. 32-4; also STE 3/3/5, sheet 9; autograph, MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regents Park College; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 2, pp. 21-22.