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Anna Jane Vardill


Designed for a Tablet to the Memory of the Rev. Dr. JOHN VARDILL, Rector of Fishtoft and Skirbeck, Regius Professor of Divinity, King’s College, New-York.

The following lines are peculiarly interesting to us, not only from their poetry and pathos, but for their filial piety. They are the effusion of exquisite sensibility; the emanation of sorrow, stimulating genius: Of love and veneration, commemorating learning, talents, and parental affection. They display a Daughter, in form and virtue, like an Athenian virgin, with tear-stained eyes, and trembling hand, inscribing the tomb of her father, who appears to have possessed the genius and the eloquence of an Athenian sage, combined with the mild affection of a Christian divine. On this graphic idea we could morally reflect at some length, were it not necessary to recur to the inscription, and more particularly to state, that the lovely writer, of whose literary attainments we have given several instances,* shrinks from observation; while her late father, by whose instruction and example her mind was formed, under whose influence her genius expanded, is far beyond the reach of our feeble powers to elogize, or indeed beyond the reach of any powers BUT HER OWN.

Could Wit, could Wisdom, eternize their flame,
Could Genius life’s immortal spark reclaim,
This mould’ring record had not vainly told
Where Wisdom sleeps, and Eloquence lies cold!
The Priest of Mercy still had grac’d her shrine,
Still from his bosom pour’d her balm divine:
Still attic Nectar on his lips had hung,
And bland Religion triumph’d on his tongue:
Pause, stranger! from the grave his precepts reach,
The grave of Goodness claims eternal speech!
Pause! tho’ in silent dust extinguish’d here,
The Poet’s ray, the Patriot’s flame revere!
All Science seeks, and social love bestows
To deck mild Virtue, thron’d in sage repose,
Lies in this grave!—but when the solar fire
Sinks into night, and crumbling worlds retire,
From the rent earth the Son of Truth shall rise,
Cloth’d in unclouded light, and soar beyond the skies.

* In this Magazine.

The European Magazine, Vol. 59, February 1811, p. 134