Archive for October 12th, 2020

Monday, 12 October 2020

To Death by Caroline Anne Bowles Southey

Come not in terrors clad, to claim
An unresisting prey:
Come like an evening shadow, Death!
So stealthily, so silently!
And shut mine eyes, and steal my breath;
Then willingly—oh! willingly,
With thee I’ll go away!

What need to clutch with iron grasp
What gentlest touch may take?
What need, with aspect dark, to scare,
So awfully, so terribly,
The weary soul would hardly care,
Called quietly, called tenderly,
From thy dread power to break?

‘Tis not as when thou markest out
The young, the blest, the gay,
The loved, the loving—they who dream
So happily, so hopefully;
Then harsh thy kindest call may seem,
And shrinkingly, reluctantly,
The summon’d may obey.

But I have drunk enough of life—
The cup assigned to me
Dashed with a little sweet at best,
So scantily, so scantily—
To know full well that all the rest
More bitterly, more bitterly,
Drugged to the last will be.

And I may live to pain some heart
That kindly cares for me—
To pain, but not to bless. O Death!
Come quietly—come lovingly-
And shut mine eyes, and steal my breath;
Then willingly—oh! willingly,
With thee I’ll go away.

From: Southey, Caroline Bowles, The Poetical Works of Caroline Bowles Southey, Collected Edition, 1867, William Blackwood and Sons: Edinburgh and London, pp. 170-171.
(https://archive.org/details/poeticalworksofc00sout)

Date: 1830

By: Caroline Anne Bowles Southey (1786-1854)