Archive for February 15th, 2019

Friday, 15 February 2019

At Length My Soul the Fatal Union Finds by Octavia Walsh

At length my soul the fatal union finds,
That with dead earth its purer nation binds;
Fettered in flesh, it seeks for soft repose,
And drags a tiresome carcase as it goes.
As an old cottage, worn by time, will bend,
And from its roof its faithful inmate send,
So my old house, disdainful of control,
Crushes and overwhelms the sickly soul.
When the quick-moving blood begins to stay,
And with less haste pursue its sanguine way,
A heavy weight the sinking soul sustains,
And from each quarter of the camp complains.
Then sudden starts and fears the mind entrance,
And pale-faced ghosts before its fancy dance;
Impending ruin o’er its head appears,
And the whole man runs into eyes and ears.
In vain my Reason then begins to plead,
Convinced of safety, yet to fear betrayed:
As well you may be arguments assuage
The heats of those that in a fever rage.
But, O great God! Since thou hast wisely joined
This mouldering clay to an immortal mind,
Since my great landlord makes this cot my care,
I’ll strive to keep it in the best repair:
That my poor soul, unmoved by its decays,
May pay its rent in due returns of praise,
Till he sees fit his favour to recall,
And on my head let the old cottage fall.

From: Lonsdale, Roger (ed.), Eighteenth Century Women Poets: An Anthology, 1990, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 53.

Date: 1705

By: Octavia Walsh (1677-1706)