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Letitia Elizabeth Landon (Летиция Элизабет Лэндон)

Windleshaw Abbey, or, The Funeral

MARK you not yon sad procession;
    'Mid the ruin'd abbey's gloom,
Hastening to the worm's possession,
    To the dark and silent tomb!

See the velvet pall hangs over
    Poor mortality's remains;
We should shudder to discover
    What that coffin's space contains.

Death itself is lovely—wearing
    But the colder shape of sleep;
Or the solemn statue bearing
    Beauty that forbids to weep.

But decay—the pulses tremble
    When its livid signs appear:
When the once-loved lips resemble
    All we loathe, and all we fear.

Is it not a ghastly ending
    For the body's godlike form,
Thus to the damp earth descending,
    Food and triumph to the worm?

Better far the red pile blazing
    With the spicy Indian wood,
Incense unto heaven raising
    From the sandal oil's sweet flood.

In the bright pyre's kindling flashes,
    Let my yielded soul ascend;
Fling to the wild winds my ashes
    'Till with mother-earth they blend.

Not so,—let the pale urn keep them;
    Touch'd with spices, oil, and wine;
Let there be some one to weep them;
    Wilt thou keep that urn? Love mine!

Letitia Elizabeth Landon's other poems:
  1. To Sir John Doyle, Bart
  2. Portrait
  3. Ideal Likenesses. Ariadne
  4. Age and Youth
  5. The Tournament

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