A Celebration of Women Writers

"A Thought on Death." by Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743 - 1825)

First Publication: Christian Disciple. (Boston) n.s. 3 (Nov-Dec 1821): 440.
This Edition: The Works of Anna Lætitia Barbauld, with a Memoir by Lucy Aikin. London: Longman, 1825. I:266.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

A Thought on Death

November, 1814

When life, as opening buds, is sweet,
And golden hopes the fancy greet,
And youth prepares his joys to meet,
    Alas! how hard it is to die!

When just is seiz'd some valu'd prize,
And duties press, and tender ties
Forbid the soul from earth to rise,
    How awful then it is to die!

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

When faith is firm, and conscience clear,
And words of peace the spirit cheer,
And vision'd glories half appear,
    'Tis joy, 'tis triumph, then to die!

When trembling limbs refuse their weight,
And films, slow gathering, dim the sight,
And clouds obscure the mental light,
    'Tis nature's precious boon to die!

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom