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Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743-1825)

A Thought on Death: November, 1814


              1When life as opening buds is sweet,
              2And golden hopes the fancy greet,
              3And Youth prepares his joys to meet,--
              4Alas! how hard it is to die!

              5When just is seized some valued prize,
              6And duties press, and tender ties
              7Forbid the soul from earth to rise,--
              8How awful then it is to die!

              9When, one by one, those ties are torn,
            10And friend from friend is snatched forlorn,
            11And man is left alone to mourn,--
            12Ah then, how easy 'tis to die!

            13When faith is firm, and conscience clear,
            14And words of peace the spirit cheer,
            15And visioned glories half appear,--
            16'Tis joy, 'tis triumph then to die.

            17When trembling limbs refuse their weight,
            18And films, slow gathering, dim the sight,
            19And clouds obscure the mental light,--
            20'Tis nature's precious boon to die.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Works of Anna Lætitia Barbauld, Volume I (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster-Row, 1825), pp. 266-67. PR 4057 B7 1825 v.1 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1821
Publication date note: Published in Christian Disciple, 3 (1821): 440
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/18

Composition date: November 1814
Form: Tetrameter Quatrains
Rhyme: aaab


Other poems by Anna Lætitia Barbauld