Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Epitaph of Dionysia

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.


Epitaph of Dionysia

HERE doth Dionysia lie:

She whose little wanton foot,

Tripping (ah, too carelessly! ),

Touch’d this tomb, and fell into ’t.

Trip no more shall she, nor fall.

And her trippings were so few!

Summers only eight in all

Had the sweet child wander’d through.

But, already, life’s few suns

Love’s strong seeds had ripen’d warm.

All her ways were winning ones;

All her cunning was to charm.

And the fancy, in the flower,

While the flesh was in the bud,

Childhood’s dawning sex did dower

With warm gusts of womanhood.

Oh what joys by hope begun,

Oh what kisses kiss’d by thought,

What love-deeds by fancy done,

Death to endless dust hath wrought!

Had the fates been kind as thou,

Who, till now, was never cold,

Once Love’s aptest scholar, now

Thou hadst been his teacher bold;

But, if buried seeds upthrow

Fruits and flowers; if flower and fruit

By their nature fitly show

What the seeds are, whence they shoot,

Dionysia, o’er this tomb,

Where thy buried beauties be,

From their dust shall spring and bloom

Loves and graces like to thee.