Female Piety and Virtue, an Ode

Female Piety and Virtue, an Ode  (1777) 
by Thomas Gibbons

From Volume 2 of “Memoirs of eminently pious women”, pp. 525-528

Female Piety and Virtue. An ODE.

As when the night its highest noon attains,
And not a cloud o'ercasts the blue serene,
The stars diffus'd through all th' etherial plains,
And all array'd in living light are seen;

So in this night of time what patterns rise,
Rich in celestial lustres, to adorn,
And bless our world, till from these lower skies
Shine the full glories of that promis'd morn,

When Jesus rising, like the orient sun,
Shall drown these stars in his superior rays,
And all the saints, their race nocturnal run,
Alone on his unrivall'd beauties gaze?

But till this day shall break, how much we owe
To those divine examples that illume
Our journey through this vale of sin and woe,
Direct our steps, and half dispel our gloom?

What full-grown graces, blooming Jane, were
How deep thy piety, renown'd Navarre? [thine?
Yok'd to a wolf how did thy virtues shine,
And humanize his soul, illustrious Parr?

In bright Maria, William's matchless Queen,
What majesty and meekness were combin'd?
Such in terrestrial forms were angels seen,
When erst they came Heav'n's envoys to mankind.

What filial love by Suffolk was exprest?
With what a blaze of worth was Warwick crown'd?
What gen'rous pity glow'd in Armyne's breast?
For ev'ry virtue how was Brooke renown'd ?

Thine high deserts, O Vere! and, Langham! thine
Transcend the muse's noblest lays to show.
How good was Hobart? With what rays divine
Didst thou, O Courten, gild thy clouds of woe?

From Hoghton, Ratcliffe, Hastings saints may learn
How to improve their lives, and how to die.
In Bretterg, Cutts, and Andrews we discern
What heights were gained by early piety.

No numbers Lucy's merits can proclaim:
A wife, a mother, most divinely good!
She taught her race at heav'n's high mark to aim,
And pour contempt on riches and on blood.

Baynard, Rowe, Burnet, Bury, in your praise
Fame founds her trump, proud of th' immortal themes;
Genius and Virtue strove through all your days
Which should emblaze you with its brightest beams.

Russell her Lord's untimely loss bemoans;
Still her wound bleeds, and still her sorrows flow,
But not one murmur mingles with her groans,
Meek and submissive in enormous woe.

How didst thou, Askewe, ev'n in Gard'ner's ear
Announce the truths of God, and scorn the lie?
How firm the half-disjointing rack to bear,
How pleas'd in agonizing flames to die?

For well thou knew'st, the transient tortures o'er,
Attending angels would conduct thy soul
To regions where no pain should pierce thee more,
But life and bliss in endless currents roll:

Well too thou knew'st that in immortal bloom
Thy body from its ashes should arise, [come,
When Christ the second time from heav'n should
And thy whole self ascend th' eternal skies.

Ye Fair, heav'n's kindest, noblest gift to man,
Adorn'd with ev'ry charm, and ev'ry grace,
The flame your forms inspire let virtue fan,
And let the mind be lovelier than the face.

What though corporeal beauty first allures,
Soon will that beauty lose its pleasing pow'r,
Unless intrinsic worth the heart secures,
Fixing for life the conquest of an hour?

Morning and ev'ning let devotion rise,
And call celestial influence to your aid;
Know that in God alone our safety lies,
Our guide, our strength, our shelter, and our shade.

Each day, each hour the book of God explore,
And make its rules familiar to the mind:
There flames the gold untarnish'd from the ore,
There peace and pleasure are with duty join'd:

Let ev'ry virtue, ev'ry grace divine,
Like constellations in th' etherial way,
Thro' all your course ingrowing splendors shine,
And each with each unite its kindred.ray!

Should one be eminent above the rest,
Be that Humility, that, while it tries
To vail our goodness, makes it more confest,
As streams reprefs'd to higher currents rise.

Daughters of Eve, or in your silver hairs,
Or flourishing in youth's auspicious bloom,
The soul, th' immortal soul, demands your cares:
O live as heirs of endless life to come!

Say what is Vanity's fantastic round,
Cards, dice, songs, dances, masquerades, and plays?
Let sorne good deed in ev'ry hour be found,
And duties measure your revolving days:

Well weigh your various characters, fulfil
All your relations both to God and man,
Press to be perfect, high mount higher still;
Crown, crowd with blessings your contracted span.

Be such as Jane, or Farr, or Mary were,
Or such as Charlotte, Albion's pride, is now;
Wife, mother, queen, how good? Rash muse, bear,
How good excells the pow'rs of verse to show.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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