Mira’s Will by Mary Leapor

Imprimis–My departed shade I trust
To Heaven–My body to the silent dust;
My Name to public censure I submit,
To be disposed of as the world thinks fit;
My vice and folly let oblivion close,
The world already is overstocked with those;
My wit I give, as misers give their store,
To those who think they had enough before.
Bestow my patience to compose the lives
Of slighted virgins and neglected wives;
To modish lovers I resign my truth,
My cool reflection to unthinking youth;
And some good-nature give (‘tis my desire)
To surly husbands, as their needs require;
And first discharge my funeral–and then
To the small poets I bequeath my pen.

Let a small sprig (true emblem of my rhyme)
Of blasted laurel on my hearse recline;
Let some grave wight, that struggles for renown,
By chanting dirges through a market-town,
With gentle step precede the solemn train;
A broken flute upon his arm shall lean.
Six comic poets may the corpse surround,
And all free-holders; if they can be found:
Then follow next the melancholy throng,
As shrewd instructors, who themselves are wrong.
The virtuoso, rich in sun-dried weeds,
The politician, whom no mortal heeds,
The silent lawyer, chambered all the day,
And the stern soldier that receives no pay.
But stay — the mourners should be first our care:
Let the freed ‘prentice lead the miser’s heir;
Let the young relict wipe her mournful eye,
And widowed Husbands o’er their garlic cry.

All this let my executors fulfil,
And rest assured that this is Mira’s will;
Who was, when she these legacies designed,
In body healthy, and composed in mind.

Mary Leapor
1722-1746

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About Russell Boyle

Russell Boyle is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. His poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness. Russell is the author of the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 to 10 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Sample poems and questions may be downloaded from http://russellboyle.com
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