1779 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Richardson

C. Jackson, "Lines written on reading a Passage descriptive of the Death of Clarissa" Hibernian Magazine (April 1779) 248.



Immortal Richardson! in whom we find,
That perfect knowledge of the human mind,
Which with unerring art, explores the source
Of reason's principle, compassion's force;
As in a mirror, we our likeness view,
And own the transcript drawn from nature true.

If distrest virtue to the feeling heart,
Can sympathy's impassion'd pow'r impart;
And raise, (whilst rushing tears inform the eye,)
Th' enanguish'd bosom's tributary sigh:—
Clarissa claims them, her unequall'd woe
Commands that sigh to heave, those tears to flow.

Lamented fair! with saints and martyrs claim,
An equal virtue, and an equal fame.
In life, in death, each excellence display'd;
Their toils diminish, and their glories fade.
View her expiring! and triumphant gain
The vic'try o'er temptation, peril, pain;
Then, whilst distress its melting pow'r combines,
Th' unshaken majesty of virtue shines;
Meek resignation, fix'd on Heav'n her eyes,
To sooth each anxious care successful tries;
Gay hope, with bright anticipation cheers,
And faith, divine religion's strength appears—
These, as her lips dismiss the ling'ring breath,
Presiding o'er th' eventful hour of death;
Crown her last moments with serenest grace,
Th' auspicious surety of eternal peace.