Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
Lucrezia Borgia’s Last Letter
By Antoinette DeCoursey Patterson
BEFORE me shine the words of her last letter—
  Lucrezia Borgia to the Pope at Rome—
Wherein she begs, as life’s remaining fetter
  Slips from her, that his prayers will guide her home:
The favor God has shown to me confessing,        5
  As swift my end approaches, Father, I,
A Christian though a sinner, ask your blessing
  And kiss your feet in all humility.
The thought of death brings no regret, but pleasure;
  And after the last sacrament great peace        10
Will be mine own—in overflowing measure,
  If but your mercy marks my soul’s release.
And here the letter finds a sudden ending,
  As though the dying hand had lost its power:
My children to Rome’s love and care commending        15
  Ferrara—Friday—at the fourteenth hour.
An odor as of incense faintly lingers
  About the page of saintly sophistries—
And I am thinking clever were the fingers
  That could mix poison and write words like these.        20

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