A Celebration of Women Writers

"Soliloquy." by Jane Taylor (1783-1824)
Publication: The Writings of Jane Taylor, In Five Volumes by Jane Taylor. Volume I, Memoirs and Poetical Remains.. Edited by Isaac Taylor, Jr., of Stanford Rivers. Boston: Perkins & Marvin, 1832. pp. 343-344.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


HERE'S a beautiful earth, and a wonderful sky,
And to see them God gives us a heart and an eye;
Nor leaves us untouched by the pleasures they yield,
Like the fowl of the heaven, or the beasts of the field.

The soul though encumbered with sense and with sin,
Can range through her own mystic chambers within;
Then soar like the eagle, to regions of light,
And dart wondrous thoughts to the stars of the night.

[Page 344] 

Yea more, it is gifted with vision so keen
As to know the unknown, and to see the unseen;
To glance at eternity's numberless days,
Till dazzled, confounded, and lost in the maze.

Nor will this suffice it;–O wonderful germ
Of infinite blessing vouchsafed to a worm!
It quickens, it rises with boundless desires,
And heaven is the lowest to which it aspires.

Such, such is the soul, though bewildered and dark;
A vital, ethereal, unquenchable spark:
Thus onward and upward by nature it tends;–
Then wherefore descends it? ah! whither descends?

Soon droops its light pinion, borne down by a gust,
It flutters, it faulters;–it cleaves to the dust;
Then feeds upon ashes–deceived and astray;
And fastens and clings to the perishing clay.

For robes that too proud were the lilies to wear–
For food we divide with the fowls of the air–
For joy that just sparkles, and then disappears–
We drop from heaven's gate, to this valley of tears.

How tranquil and blameless the pleasures it sought,
While it rested within the calm region of thought!
How fraught with disgust, and how sullied with wo,
Is all that detains and beguiles it below!

O Thou who, when silent and senseless it lay,
Didst breathe into life the inanimate clay,
Now nourish and quicken the languishing fire,
And fan to a flame that shall never expire!


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom