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Poems (1828)   By: (1780-)

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Some of the Pieces in this volume have been separately published, at different times; the indulgence, I may say favour, with which they were individually received, has encouraged me to collect and re publish them. I have added many others, which are now first printed. I shall be well satisfied, if they find as favourable a reception as their precursors; and are thought not to have increased the size, without at all increasing the merit, of the book.

I cannot omit this opportunity of thanking those Critics, who have honoured me by reviewing my verses. I owe them my warm acknowledgments for candidly measuring my Poems by their pretensions. They have looked at them as they really were; as the amusements of the leisure hours of a man whose fortune will not favour his inclination to devote himself to poetry; and conceiving a favourable opinion of them in that character, have kindly expressed it.

London, December, 1827.

During the progress of these pages through the press, it has pleased Providence to inflict upon me the severest calamity that domestic life can sustain. In the private sorrows of the humble candidate for literary fame, I am aware that the world will feel no interest, yet humanity will forgive the weakness that struggles under such a bereavement, and will pardon the tear that falls upon such a tomb. If, indeed, the Being who is lost to her family and society were endowed only with those gifts and graces, which are shared by thousands of her sex, I should have been silent at this moment. To those who knew her,[1] and to know her was to esteem and love, this tribute will be superfluous; but to those who knew her not, I would say, that, superadded to every natural advantage, to the charms of every polite accomplishment, and to a cheerful and sincere piety, she was deeply imbued with the love of literature and of science. In these, her Lectures on the Physiology of the External Senses exhibit a splendid proof of her acquirements in their highest walks, and are an imperishable memorial of her patient and laborious research. They who were present at the delivery of these Lectures will not soon forget the effect of her impressive elocution, chastened as it was by as unaffected modesty as ever adorned and dignified a woman. I speak of that which she performed that which her capacious mind had meditated I forbear to mention. For the advancement of her sex in pursuits that are intellectual she made many sacrifices, both of her feelings and her time; yet, in all she did, and in all she contemplated, usefulness was her end and aim but I must not proceed; less than this I could not say more than this might be deemed ostentatious.

What earthly tongue, and, oh! what human pen Can tell that scene of suffering, too severe. 'Tis ever present to my sight, oh! when Will the sound cease its torture on mine ear?

Oh! my lost love, thou patient Being, never! Thy dying look of love can I forget; The last fond pressure of thy hand, for ever! Thrills in my veins, I see thy struggles yet.

Thy sculptured beauty is before me now: In thy calm dignity, and sweet repose, Alas! sad memory re invests thy brow, With death's stern agony, and pain's last throes.

Desolate heart be still forgive, oh God! The cries of feeble nature stricken sore. Father! assuage the terrors of thy rod. Teach me to see thy wisdom and adore!

[Footnote 1: I cannot resist the melancholy gratification of quoting from the Literary Gazette, of August 18, in which the death of Mrs. Gent was announced to the public. "Science has, since our last, suffered a severe lost by the death of this accomplished lady; she was well known for her high attainments as a Lecturer, and her Course on the Physiology of the External Senses was a perfect model of elegant composition and refined oratory. Mrs. Gent died at the residence of her husband, Thomas Gent, Esq. Doctor's Commons, after a month of severe suffering, which she bore with singular fortitude, and the most pious resignation... Continue reading book >>

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