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Poem by Janet Little

A Young Ladys Lamentation

WHAT tongue can half my woes express?
What force of eloquence can tell?
The causes of my deep distress
Are such as ever seem to swell.
My parents not ignoble were;
My father once a merchant fam'd;
But now in a superior sphere,
'Mongst landed gentlemen he's nam'd.
My mother of no mean extract:
The famous Freyburgh gave her birth;
With wit and prudence still she'll act;
None more accomplished on earth.
My brethren all for valour fam'd,
Their merit great, what pen can show;
Their praise has been by fame proclaim'd,
While justly in esteem they grow.
I had one only sister dear;
Our parents' joy and pride were we;
Our charms attractive did appear
To men of high and low degree:
Who often times, in soft address,
Did strive our favour to obtain,
While we of fortitude possess'd,
Refus'd their offers with disdain.
They vow'd we would their ruin prove,
Persisting in our cruelty;
But we were wont to laugh at love,
And little Cupid's darts defy.
We ever arm'd were cap-a-pee;
Indiff'rence was our favourite shield;
But by some fatal destiny,
My sister languish'd in the field.
Depriv'd of all defensive arms,
(I sigh, my tears begin to flow)
And slain by a sea captain's charms,
She married was a month ago.
In an unlucky moment he,
From Plutus sure had learn'd the art,
Made his empoison'd arrows flee,
Till one of them did pierce her heart.
She did not wish to find relief,
But an ignoble victim fell,
Which fill'd our parents' hearts with grief;
Their sorrows great what tongue can tell?
The balsam of advice was brought,
With drops of strict authority;
Prescriptions still to shun she sought,
Nor would the medicines apply.
With water of forgetfulness,
She oft was bid to bathe the wound:
The search was vain, she did protest
This water never could be found.
It griev'd us much thus to behold
Our counsels slighted with disdain:
His feather'd darts were tipp'd with gold,
Which render'd every effort vain.
But conscious that our parents dear
Could not behold the fatal blow,
To make the stroke seem less severe,
She at a distance met the foe.
Her peerless charms she there resign'd,
CompelI'd by love's supreme command;
A clown by travels much refin'd
Did eager clasp her beauteous hand.
I will lament a sister lost.
Ah! ladies hear my piteous moan,
Depriv'd of what I once could boast,
I now must keep the field alone.
What though I no assistance have,
I hope to act courag'ously,
The subtle foe still to outbrave,
And man's seducing arts defy.
The rich, the poor, the proud, the slave,
The fop, the clown, the low, the tall,
The gay, the giddy, or the grave,
I scornfully defy them all. 

Janet Little

Janet Little's other poems:
  1. The Rival Swans
  2. Celia and her Looking Glass
  3. Lothario
  4. An Extemporary Acrostic
  5. A Poem on Contentment

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