To the Pious Memory of the accomplished young lady, Mrs. Anne
Killigrew, excellent in the two
sister arts of Poesy and
THOU youngest virgin-daughter of the skies,
Made in the last promotion of the blest;
palms, new pluckd from Paradise,
In spreading branches more sublimely rise,
Rich with immortal green
above the rest:
Whether, adopted to some neighbouring star,
Thou rollst above us, in thy wandering race,
in procession fixt and regular,
Movd with the heavens majestic pace;
Or, calld to more superior bliss,
treadst with seraphims the vast abyss:
Whatever happy region is thy place,
Cease thy celestial song a
Thou wilt have time enough for hymns divine,
Since Heavens eternal year is thine.
Hear, then, a mortal Muse thy praise rehearse,
In no ignoble verse;
But such as thy own voice
did practise here,
When thy first-fruits of Poesy were given,
To make thyself a welcome inmate there;
yet a young probationer,
And candidate of Heaven.
If by traduction came thy mind,
Our wonder is the less, to find
A soul so charming from a
stock so good;
Thy father was transfusd into thy blood:
So wert thou born into the tuneful strain,
rich, and inexhausted vein.
But if thy pre-existing soul
Was formd at first with myriads more,
It did through
all the mighty poets roll
Who Greek or Latin laurels wore,
And was that Sappho last, which once it was
If so, then cease thy flight, O heaven-born mind!
Thou hast no dross to purge from thy rich ore:
can thy soul a fairer mansion find,
Than was the beauteous frame she left behind:
Return, to fill or mend
the quire of thy celestial kind.
May we presume to say, that, at thy birth,
New joy was sprung in heaven as well as here
For sure the milder planets did combine
On thy auspicious horoscope to shine,
And even the
most malicious were in trine.
Thy brother-angels at thy birth
Strung each his lyre, and tund it high,
the people of the sky
Might know a poetess was born on earth;
And then, if ever, mortal ears
the music of the spheres.
And if no clustring swarm of bees
On thy sweet mouth distilld their golden
Twas that such vulgar miraclàes
Heaven had not leisure to renew:
For all the blest fraternity of love
there thy birth, and kept thy holiday above.
O gracious God! how far have we
Profand thy heavenly gift of Poesy!
Made prostitute and
profligate the Muse,
Debasd to each obscene and impious use,
Whose harmony was first ordaind above,
tongues of angels and for hymns of love!
O wretched we! why were we hurried down
This lubrique and
(Nay, added fat pollutions of our own),
To increase the streaming ordures of the stage?
can we say to excuse our second fall?
Let this thy Vestal, Heaven, atone for all!
Her Arethusian stream
Unmixt with foreign filth, and undefild;
Her wit was more than man, her innocence a
Art she had none, yet wanted none,
For Nature did that want supply:
So rich in treasures
of her own,
She might our boasted stores defy:
Such noble vigour did her verse adorn,
That it seemd
borrowd, where twas only born.
Her morals, too, were in her bosom bred,
By great examples daily fed,
in the best of books, her fathers life, she read.
And to be read herself she need not fear;
Each test, and
every light, her Muse will bear,
Though Epictetus with his lamp were there.
Even love (for love sometimes
her Muse exprest)
Was but a lambent flame which playd about her breast,
Light as the vapours of a morning
So cold herself, whilst she such warmth exprest,
Twas Cupid bathing in Dianas stream....
Now all those charms, that blooming grace,
The well-proportiond shape, and beauteous face,
never more be seen by mortal eyes;
In earth the much-lamented virgin lies.
Not wit, nor piety could Fate
Nor was the cruel Destiny content
To finish all the murder at a blow,
To sweep at once her life
and beauty too;
But, like a hardend felon, took a pride
To work more mischievously slow,
first, and then destroyd.
O double sacrilege on things divine,
To rob the relic, and deface the shrine!