“Written on Seeing the Bodies of Two Beautiful Women, Cast Away Near Milford,” from Poems, Now First Collected, by Chandos Leigh (1839)

September 22nd, 2013

Written on Seeing the Bodies of Two Beautiful Women, Cast Away Near Milford

A dreary waste of snows around
O’er-spread the inhospitable ground;
The storm-blast scarce had ceased to roar,
There lay two corpses on the shore.
Thou, pamper’d lecher, come and see
These shapes, so oft embraced by thee!
What does it shame thee? look again
These were once women, ay, and vain;
Rock-bruised and mangled now, they seem
More horrid than a ghastly dream.
Now kiss their livid lips, and bless
Their fragrant stench, sweet rottenness.
The gay gold rings bemock their fingers,
Where not one trait of beauty lingers;
But, like the shrivell’d star-fish, lie
Their hands in sand, all witheringly.
We start to see this loathsome clay,
Uncoffin’d, rotting fast away;
Yet, we can bear the noisome pest,
Vice, gathering, blackening in the breast.

from Poems, Now First Collected, by Chandos Leigh, 1st Baron Leigh
London: Edward Moxon, 1839

Available on the Internet Archive: Link

Pretty grisly as poems go–a bit like a preliminary sketch for the coroner’s report.

This is one in a series of neglected poems taken from the Internet Archive.

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