Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
IV. Inevitable
From ‘Elegy to the Memory of an unfortunate Lady’
By Alexander Pope (1688–1744)
 
[See full text.]

WHAT can atone, O ever-injured shade!
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend’s complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier.
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,        5
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn’d,
By strangers honour’d, and by strangers mourn’d!
What tho’ no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,        10
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What tho’ no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish’d marble emulate thy face?
What tho’ no sacred earth allow thee room,        15
Nor hallow’d dirge be mutter’d o’er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow’rs be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;        20
While angels with their silver wings o’ershade
The ground, now sacred by thy reliques made.
  So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame.
How loved, how honour’d once, avails thee not,        25
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
’Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!…
 
 
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