Saturday, September 21, 2013

Nor Time, Nor Accident

On a Lock of Miss Cresswell's Hair Given after Her Death
by Eliza Kirkham Mathews


Dear precious relic! of my angel friend!
For whom so oft I heave affection's sigh!
For whom, O! early lost! my lays ascend,
While friendship's sacred tear bedews my eye.
Dear precious relic! of my angel friend!
Nor time, nor accident, shall e'er us part;
With Mary's hair, my Anna, THINE I'll blend,
Whose image lives forever in my heart.
When melancholy chills me with despair,
And sad on frail mortality I muse,
To these will I with throbbing heart repair,
And gem these locks with pity's softest dews.
Soon Faith, with eagle eye, shall pierce the gloom,
And quickly dash the selfish tear away;
No more I'll mourn a friend or sister's doom,
FOR LO! THEY SPARKLE IN ETERNAL DAY!

Punctuation of early poems (this is from the late eighteenth century) is often strange, but I find myself quite attracted to how it works out here, since the punctuation does some serious work here in conveying mood and linking different parts of the poem.

Eliza Kirkham Mathews was the wife of Charles Mathews, one of the most creative actors of his day, and most famous for having practically invented the professional one-man show. Eliza herself is most famous for her novel, What Has Been, about a woman struggling to support her family.

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