The Lady Dyer Poem
Lady Dyer's poem, written for her husband, is likely to be the first recorded poem written by a woman:
If a large heart, joined with a noble mind
Showing true worth unto all good inclined
If faith in friendship, justice unto all,
Leave such a memory as we may call
Happy, thine is; then pious marble keep
His just fame waking, though his loved dust sleep.
And though death can devour all that hath breath,
And monuments themselves have had a death,
Nature shan't suffer this, to ruinate,
Nor time demolish it, nor an envious fate,
Raised by a just hand, not vain glorious pride,
Who'd be concealed, were it modesty to hide
Such an affection did so long survive
The object of it, yet loved it as alive.
And this great blessing to his name does give
To make it by his tomb, and issue live.
My dearest dust, could not thy hasty day
Afford thy drowsy patience leave to stay
One hour longer: so that we might either
Sit up, or gone to bed together?
But since thy finished labour hath possessed
Thy weary limbs with early rest,
Enjoy it sweetly; and thy widow bride
Shall soon repose her by thy slumbering side;
Whose business, now, is only to prepare
My nightly dress, and call to prayer:
Mine eyes wax heavy and the day grows old,
The dew falls thick, my blood grows cold.
Draw, draw the closed curtains: and make room:
My dear, my dearest dust; I come, I come.