Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mrs. Bowes

A Soul Brought to Heaven
William Adolphe Bouguereau

On the Death of Mrs. Bowes*
Hail happy Bride! for thou art truly blest!
Three months of Rapture crown'd with endless Rest!
Merit, like yours, was heav'ns peculiar Care,
You lov'd
yet trusted Happiness sincere:
To you the Sweets of Love were only shewn,
The sure succeeding bitter Dregs unknown:
You had not yet the fatal Change deplor'd,
The tender Lover, for the imperious Lord;
Nor felt the Pains that jealous Fondness brings,
Nor wept that Coldness from Possession springs,
Above your Sex distinguish'd in your Fate,
You trusted,
– yet experienced no Deceit.
Soft were the Hours, and wing'd with Pleasure flew,
No vain Repentance gave a Sigh to you:
And if superior Bliss, Heav'n can bestow,
With Fellow Angels you enjoy it now.

by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
(written extempore upon a Card, in a great deal of Company)
*Mrs. Bowes was Eleanor Verney, daughter of the Honorable Thomas Verney. She died on 14 December 1724, at the age of fourteen, having married George Bowes (1701-1760) on 1 October 1724.

From British Women Poets of the Long Eighteenth Century / edited by Paula R. Backscheider and Catherine E. Ingrassia (Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009)