Verse > Anthologies > J. C. Squire, ed. > A Book of Women’s Verse
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J. C. Squire, ed.  A Book of Women’s Verse.  1921.
 
Solitude
By Mary, Lady Chudleigh (1656–1710)
 
WHEN all alone in some belov’d retreat,
    Remote from noise, from bus’ness and from strife,
Those constant curst attendants of the great,
I freely can with my own thoughts converse,
    And cloath them in ignoble verse,        5
’Tis then I tast the most-delicious feast of life:
There, uncontroul’d, I can my self survey,
    And from observers free,
    My intellectual pow’rs display,
And all th’ opening scenes of beauteous Nature see:        10
Form bright ideas, and enrich my mind,
Enlarge my knowledge, and each error find;
Inspect each action, ev’ry word dissect,
And on the failure of my life reflect:
Then from my self, to books, I turn my sight,        15
And there, with silent wonder and delight,
Gaze on th’ instructive venerable dead,
Those that in vertue’s school were early bred,
And since by rules of honour always led;
Who its strict laws with nicest care obey’d,        20
And were by calm unbyass’d reason sway’d:
Their great examples elevate my mind,
And I the force of all their precepts find;
By them inspir’d, above dull earth I soar,
And scorn those trifles which I priz’d before.        25
 
 
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