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be undermined by some secret disorder ; and her strength and spirits were unhappily much shaken by her attendance on a trial to give evidence against a youth who was suspected of having stolen a bank-note from a letter ; a circumstance which occasioned one of her smaller poems. Her health gradually declined, pain and infirmities came upon her, she was deprived of the power of speech, and often endured severe agony, till, after ten years of continual suffering, during which she exhibited all those graces which she has recommended in her writings, her time of trial ceased ; and (adopting her own words), 6 with the same filial submission and entire confidence with which she had resigned every day of her life into the hands of her Creator, she resigned the last;" full of patience, and love, and humble heavenly hope.
“ O ye ! whose hearts
* From à MS. by Miss Bowdler.
The following extract from a letter, written soon after her death, gives a most interesting account of her sufferings, and the state of her mind under them, during the last few days of her life.
“ I have lost one of the most perfect beings that ever did honour to human nature; but that loss was preceded by circumstances which made it appear the greatest of blessings; and, while I feel most sensibly, and must feel for ever, the want of a most tender and affectionate friend, who has been from my infancy my inseparable companion, and whom every day gave me fresh reason to love, yet I cannot wish to bring her back to this state of suffering, and shall ever acknowledge her removal to a happier world as a blessing, for which I can never be sufficiently thankful. She has, as you know, for many years been a constant sufferer, but, since her illness in October last, these sufferings have been greatly increased; till about six weeks before I lost her, the pain in her stomach grew so violent that she was obliged to be confined to her room, grew gradually worse, and at last Dr. Dobson told us, he had no hope that she could ever recover, and believed a few days would end the struggle; from this time my sister and I determined never to leave her: we were constantly in her room all day, and passed the nights there by turns; her sufferings were, I believe, as great as human nature could endure, and continued during three weeks without intermission. At last, one day, while she was sitting up, her pulse and strength seemed to fail at once, and we thought her just going. As we knew she was well acquainted with her situation, my sister told her the state of her pulse; but never, never shall I forget the scene that followed; the transport, the rapture, which glowed upon
her countenance at that moment were what nobody who did not see them can possibly conceive. I believe it proceeded from feelings as incomprehensible to us as those of departed spirits; at the same time, her tenderness for her friends never left her for a moment, and I shall ever think of that hour with more heartfelt satisfaction than of any other of my life. It pleased God, however, to try her still farther; for, after that moment of ease on Saturday evening, she lingered till Thursday morning in agonies, which I fear I shall never be able to recollect without horror. During that time, we scarcely left her for an hour, night or day; what I then felt it is impossible to describe, but yet, through all the tortures she endured, I could still at times see the same glow of transport, the more than human peace which triumphed over them all. — 0, it was a scene for angels to view with admiration; but it is as impossible for me to describe as to forget it. The night before she died she would have her slate, and with great difficulty wrote, “ I am just going now;” she then took leave of us all with the sweetest, the most heavenly composure, and I again flattered myself that she had no more to suffer, but I was disappointed : her pains returned with greater violence than ever, and she grew delirious, which continued to the last. Think what we must feel, when, in that state, her voice, which had been lost for near ten years, degree returned, so that I could distinguish many words, and some sentences, but almost all wild and incoherent, except once that I distinguished my own name, and another time I heard her say, happy, happy.' This is the first time I have been sufficiently composed to attempt writing on this affecting subject, but I know you will feel for me; and such a scene must be interesting to all who are convinced of the truth of that religion which can alone support the mind in the greatest of all trials, and fill it with inexpressible transport even in the horrors of death. May
that God who so wonderfully supported the dear angel I have lost, enable me to profit by her glorious example, and unite us again in a happier world! In the mean time, though I most sensibly feel the irreparable loss I have sustained, yet I do not doubt that I shall soon recover my spirits in a great degree. I shall never lose the remembrance of those virtues which once made the principal blessing of my life, but it is a remembrance which turns my tears to rapture.''
Not long after her death a collection was made of her poems and essays, and published for the benefit of the Bath Hospital. It has since passed through fifteen editions. The poems show great taste and feeling; and the Ode to Hope, the stanzas on the death of Mr. Garrick, and the poem on the New Year, deserve much higher praise, displaying in many parts a strength and sublimity worthy of our best writers. The style is, for the most part, chaste, easy, elegant, melodious, though the blank verse may sometimes be found deficient in that full majestic harmony which has been attained by the great masters of the art. But there is a delicacy of sentiment, and a sweetness and tenderness of expression, which are calculated to affect every one who can taste and feel them. The author possesses the great excellence of writing from the heart, and of showing that she does so. There is no affectation, no injudicious ornament, no labour; the defect which has been alluded to arises from the absence of it, and is abundantly recompensed by the natural flow of thought and simplicity which are every where to be observed. These are still more conspicuous in her prose writings. You seem to have the portrait of her own mind; the free and unembarrassed thoughts of
one, who, having been well-trained by education and accustomed to sober reflection, is in retirement calmly contemplating all that passes in the world around her, and recording her observations for the benefit of a friend, or for her own improvement. The sex of the author, perhaps, gives her some advantages. You have none of the sternness, and none of the haughtiness of philosophy, no affectation of laboured thought or profound erudition; none of the severity which those may be expected to exhibit who have seen much of the grosser vices, or are driven from active life and from the indulgence of the stronger passions. A well-educated female has seen only the better part of the world ; she is conversant with foibles rather than vices, and her natural gentleness will lead her to treat tenderly what she cannot but condemn. Yet, her observations will not, therefore, want interest. The quickness of apprehension will more than make amends for the absence of more extensive knowledge. She acquires by intuition what others learn by dull and painful experience. There will be a life, a spirit, a naïveté in her remarks, which will possess also in an eminent degree the fascinating charm of ease, simplicity, nature. “ Some persons pique