Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Grieve not with thy bitter tears

In which our Diva commemorates a famous death

On this day in 1862, Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal died of a laudanum overdose. The inquest ruled it accidental; some who knew her claimed to know for a fact that she had taken her own life. We will never be able to confirm with absolute certainty what was in her mind that night.

We do have her poems, many of which dwell on death and loss, a tendency in which she was not alone among her contemporaries.

On this solemn anniversary, this one -- probably my favorite of hers -- seems fitting. It closes Unvarnished; I recorded this reading a few years ago.

Early Death
Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal

Oh grieve not with thy bitter tears
The life that passes fast;
The gates of heaven will open wide
And take me in at last.

Then sit down meekly at my side
And watch my young life flee;
Then solemn peace of holy death
Come quickly unto thee.

But true love, seek me in the throng
Of spirits floating past,
And I will take thee by the hands
And know thee mine at last.

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