Tuesday 31 May 2016

A poem by the Swedish poet Sophia Elisabet Brenner (1659-1730)

The unfeigned tears
of the female sex

Shed over
The late NOBLE and WELL-BORN/
Mistress MARJA Hiärne/

Who in her very prime/was wrested from this life
by temporal Death/ on 11 December Anno 1690.

                                 Death who had made up his mind
                                 For his silent haunt to capture/
                                 What his endless night unkind
                                 Might provide with some small rapture/
                                 Sought with care where for the telling
                                 Some fair beauty might be dwelling.
                                 Long he stood with hope forlorn/
                                 That he ever would discover
                                 Human flesh so pure in form/
                                 It could fully triumph over/
                                 All that’s dreary dark down-hearted
                                 In the realm of those departed.
                                 But he finally could see/
                                 For his plot success awaiting/
                                 When austere Fate’s sisters three
                                 Helped him now in extricating/
                                 What for earthly joy and pleasure
                                 Heaven/had composed at leisure.
                                 Even nature/ grieves you too/
                                 Mourns her beauty’s template’s passing/
                                 As your sex does which through you/
                                 Prized its beauty all-surpassing.                
                                 Misses/ mourns laments unceasing/
                                 What but once could be so pleasing.

                                 Some / your outward loveliness
                                 Feel is an unrivalled treasure/
                                 Others / who your conduct stress
                                 Testify in what full measure/
                                 Inner qualities exceeded
                                 And your fairness yet preceded.

                                 Were you fashioned so divine
                                 Fair one / with the sole intention?
                                 Grave / earth dust you should outshine/
                                 Make with paradise contention
                                 Will death gain then from your beauty?
                                 And acquire so great a booty.

                                 Thus the lesser sex allow
                                 Unrestrained to gain a hearing/
                                 One at last yet did avow
                                 They should end such mindless fearing/
                                 And with reasons most well-suited/
                                 Their opinion now refuted

                                 She said Sisters it’s well-known
                                 But the smallest part earth’s gaining/
                                 Once that heaven’s had its own/
                                 This account ne’er be disdaining/
                                 Know that Death can but be claiming
                                 Dust and what is not worth naming.

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