The poem ‘Verses Written on Her Death-bed at Bath to Her Husband in London’ by Mary Monck ‘Marinda’ demonstrates the strength of love in the face of death. The speaker of the poem, who is on her deathbed, writes to her husband about how death is inevitable but also appealing. It is a peaceful trip to heaven. The speaker doesn’t want to die because she loves her husband even though death seems like a good way out of her pain on earth. For this person, love is the only thing that can “resist” the power of death, at least for a short time.
The speaker says that death is a mighty “conqueror” who has complete control over all life and has a right to do so. The speaker sees death not only as inevitable but also as something to look forward to. Death gives “lasting rest from pain,” and the glory of heaven makes the “joys” of life seem weak and “fleeting.” So, the speaker is glad that her “sorrows” and “painful pilgrimage” may end, that is, her painful experience on earth.
Even though death is calling to the speaker, she stays alive because of her love for her husband. Even though death is strong, love doesn’t give in to its pull and blocks the speaker’s “journey to the skies.” The speaker thinks that love takes death longer, putting off her “parting hour.”
Below, you’ll find the full poem.
Thou who dost all my worldly thoughts employ,
Thou pleasing source of all my earthly joy,
Thou tenderest husband and thou dearest friend,
To thee this first, this last adieu I send!
At length the conqueror death asserts his right,
And will for ever veil me from thy sight;
He wooes me to him with a cheerful grace,
And not one terror clouds his meagre face;
He promises a lasting rest from pain,
And shews that all life’s fleeting joys are vain;
Th’ eternal scenes of heaven he sets in view,
And tells me that no other joys are true.
But love, fond love, would yet resist his power,
Would fain awhile defer the parting hour;
He brings thy mourning image to my eyes,
And would obstruct my journey to the skies.
But say, thou dearest, thou unwearied friend!
Say, should’st thou grieve to see my sorrows end?
Thou know’st a painful pilgrimage I’ve past;
And should’st thou grieve that rest is come at last?
Rather rejoice to see me shake off life,
And die as I have liv’d, thy faithful wife.
Mary Monck ‘Marinda’
Thanks for reading! If you’re studying this particular poem, you can buy our detailed study guide here. This includes:
- Story + Summary
- Speaker + Voice
- Language Feature Analysis
- Form and Structure Analysis
- Attitudes + Messages
- Themes + Deeper Ideas
- Key Quotations
- Extra tasks to complete by yourself
You can find the complete Cambridge IGCSE Poetry course (2022-2025) by clicking here.
For a limited time, our Cambridge IGCSE Poetry course is 15% off; just use the code ‘CAMBRIDGE’ at checkout!
For all our English Literature and Language courses, click here.