Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
Elegies and Epitaphs
The Monument of a Fair Maiden Lady, who dy’d at Bath, and is there interr’d
BELOW 1 this Marble Monument is laid
All that Heav’n wants of this Celestial Maid.
Preserve, O sacred Tomb, thy Trust consign’d:
The Mold was made on purpose for the Mind:
And she wou’d lose, if at the latter Day        5
One Atom cou’d be mix’d, of 2 other clay.
Such were the Features of her heavenly Face;
Her Limbs were form’d with such harmonious Grace,
So faultless was the Frame, as if the Whole
Had been an Emanation of the Soul;        10
Which her own inward Symmetry reveal’d;
And like a Picture shone, in Glass anneal’d
Or like the Sun eclips’d, with shaded Light:
Too piercing, else, to be sustain’d by Sight.
Each Thought was visible that rowl’d within:        15
As through a Crystal Case, the figur’d Hours are seen.
And Heav’n did this transparent Veil provide,
Because she had no guilty Thought 3 to hide.
All white, a Virgin-Saint, she sought the Skies:
For Marriage, tho’ it sullies not, it dies.        20
High tho’ her Wit, yet humble was her Mind;
As if she cou’d not, or she wou’d not find
How much her Worth transcended all her Kind.
Yet she had learn’d so much of Heav’n below,
That, when arriv’d, she scarce had more to know:        25
But only to refresh the former Hint:
And read her Maker in a fairer Print.
So Pious, as 4 she had no time to spare,
For human Thoughts, but was 5 confin’d to Pray’r.
Yet in such Charities she pass’d the Day,        30
’Twas wondrous how she found an Hour to Pray.
A Soul so calm, it knew not Ebbs or Flows,
Which Passion cou’d but curl; not discompose.
A Female Softness, with a manly Mind;
A Daughter duteous, and a Sister kind:        35
In Sickness patient; and in Death resign’d.
Note 1. Text from the edition of 1700. The variants below are from the monument in the Abbey Church at Bath as reported by Christie. In 6 with gives a wrong sense, and in 18 thoughts is false grammar. In 29 seem’d may be right: at any rate it gives better sense. [back]
Note 2. of] with. [back]
Note 3. Thought] thoughts. [back]
Note 4. as] that. [back]
Note 5. was] seem’d. [back]

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