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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


Epitaph on Mrs. Mason, in the Cathedral of Bristol

By William Mason (1724–1797)

TAKE, holy earth! all that my soul holds dear;

Take that best gift which heaven so lately gave;

To Bristol’s fount I bore with trembling care

Her faded form; she bowed to taste the wave,

And died! Does youth, does beauty, read the line?

Does sympathetic fear their breasts alarm?

Speak, dead Maria! breathe a strain divine:

Even from the grave thou shalt have power to charm.

Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee;

Bid them in duty’s sphere as meekly move;

And if so fair, from vanity as free;

As firm in friendship, and as fond in love.

Tell them, though ’t is an awful thing to die

(’T was even to thee,) yet, the dread path once trod,

Heaven lifts its everlasting portals high,

And bids the pure in heart behold their God.