An Elegy Upon My Best Friend L. K. C.
Should we our Sorrows in this Method range,
Oft as Misfortune doth their Subjects change,
And to the sev'ral Losses which befall,
Pay diff'rent Rites at ev'ry Funeral;
Like narrow Springs drain'd by dispersed Streams,
We must want Tears to wail such various Themes,
And prove defective in Deaths mournfull Laws,
Not having Words proportion'd to each Cause.
In your Dear loss my much afflicted Sense,
Discerns this Truth by sad experience,
Who never Look'd my Verses should survive,
As wet Records, That you are not Alive;
And less desir'd to make that Promise due,
Which pass'd from Me in jest, when urg'd by You.
How close and slily doth our Frailty work!
How undiscover'd in the Body lurk!
That Those who this Day did salute you well,
Before the Next were frighted by your Knell.
O wherefore since we must in Order rise,
Should we not Fall in equal Obsequies?
But bear th' Assaults of an uneven Fate,
Like Feavers which their Hour anticipate;
Had this Rule constant been, my long wish'd End
Might render you a Mourner for your Friend:
As He for you, whose most deplor'd surprise
Imprints your Death on all my Faculties;
That hardly my dark Phant'sie or Discourse,
This final Duty from the Pen inforce:
Such Influence hath your Eclipsed Light,
It doth my Reason like my Self benight.
Let me, with Luckless Gamesters, then think best
(After I have Set up and Lost my Rest,)
Grow'n desp'rate through mischance, to Venture last
My whole remaining Stock upon a Cast,
And flinging from me my now Loathed Pen,
Resolve for your Sake nev'r to Write agen:
For whilst Successive days their Light renew,
I must no Subject hope to Equal you,
In whose Heroick Brest as in their Sphear,
All Graces of your Sex concentred were.
Thus take I my long Farewell of that Art,
Fit only glorious Actions to impart;
That Art wherewith our Crosses we beguile,
And make them in Harmonious numbers smile:
Since you are gone, This holds no further use,
Whose Virtue and Desert inspir'd my Muse.
O may She in your Ashes Buried be,
Whilst I my Self become the Elegie.
And as it is observ'd when Princes Dye,
In honour of that sad Solemnity,
The now unoffic'd Servants crack their Staves,
And throw them down into their Masters Graves:
So this last Office of my broken Verse,
I solemnly resign upon your Hearse;
And my Brains moisture, all that is unspent,
Shall melt to nothing at the Monument.
Thus in moist Weather when the Marble weeps,
You'l think it only his Tears reck'ning keeps,
Who doth for ever to his Thoughts bequeath
The Legacy of your lamented Death.
An Elegy Upon The Immature Loss Of The Most Vertuous Lady Anne Rich
I envy not thy mortal triumphs, Death,
(Thou enemy to Vertue as to Breath)
Nor do I wonder much, nor yet complain
The weekly numbers by thy arrow slain.
The whole world is thy Factory, and we
Like traffick driven and retail'd by Thee:
And where the springs of life fill up so fast,
Some of the waters needs must run to waste.
It is confest, yet must our griefs dispute
That which thine own conclusion doth refute
Ere we begin. Hearken! for if thy ear
Be to thy throat proportion'd, thou canst hear.
Is there no order in the work of Fate?
Nor rule, but blindly to anticipate
Our growing seasons? or think'st thou 'tis just,
To sprinkle our fresh blossomes with thy dust,
Till by abortive funerals, thou bring
That to an Autumn Nature meant a Spring?
Is't not enough for thee that wither'd age
Lies the unpiti'd subject of thy rage;
But like an ugly Amorist, thy crest
Must be with spoyles of Youth and Beauty drest?
In other Camps, those which sate down to day
March first to morrow, and they longest stay
Who last came to the service: But in thine,
Onely confusion stands for discipline.
We fall in such promiscuous heaps, none can
Put any diff'rence 'twixt thy Rear or Van;
Since oft the youngest lead thy Files. For this
The grieved world here thy accuser is,
And I a Plaintiff, 'mongst those many ones
Who wet this Ladies Urn with zealous moanes;
As if her ashes quick'ning into years
Might be again embody'd by our tears
But all in vain; the moisture we bestow
Shall make assoon her curled Marble grow,
As render heat, or motion to that blood,
Which through her veins branch't like an azure flood;
Whose now still Current in the grave is lost,
Lock't up, and fetter'd by eternal frost.
Desist from hence, doting Astrology!
To search for hidden wonders in the sky;
Or from the concourse of malignant starres
Foretel diseases gen'ral as our warres:
What barren droughts, forerunners of lean dearth:
Threaten to starve the plenty of the earth:
What horrid forms of darkness must affright
The sickly world, hast'ning to that long night
Where it must end. If there no Portents are,
No black eclipses for the Kalendar,
Our times sad Annals will remembred be
Ith' loss of bright Northumberland and Thee:
Two Starres of Court, who in one fatal year
By most untimely set dropt from their Sphear.
Shee in the winter took her flight, and soon
As her perfections reach't the point of Noon,
Wrapt in a cloud, contracted her wisht stay
Unto the measure of a short-liv'd day.
But Thou in Summer, like an early Rose
By Deaths cold hand nipp'd as Thou didst disclose,
Took'st a long day to run that narrow stage,
Which in two gasping minutes summ'd thy age.
And, as the fading Rose, when the leaves shed
Lies in its native sweetness buried,
Thou in thy vertues bedded and inherst
Sleep'st with those odours thy pure fame disperst.
Where till that Rising Morn thou must remain,
In which thy wither'd flowres shall spring again.
And greater beauties thy wak't body vest
Then were at thy departure here possest.
So with full eyes we close thy vault. Content
(With what thy loss bequeaths us) to lament,
And make that use of thy griev'd funerall,
As of a Chrystall broken in the fall;
Whose pitti'd fractures gather'd up, and set,
May smaller Mirrours for Thy Sex beget;
There let them view themselves, untill they see
The end of all their glories shew'n in Thee.
Whil'st in the truth of this sad tribute, I
Thus strive to Canonize thy Memory.
To My Honoured Friend Mr. George Sandys
It is, Sir, a confest intrusion here
That I before your labours do appear,
Which no loud Herald need, that may proclaim
Or seek acceptance, but the Authors fame.
Much less that should this happy work commend,
Whose subject is its licence, and doth send
It to the world to be receiv'd and read,
Far as the glorious beams of truth are spread.
Nor let it be imagin'd that I look
Onely with Customes eye upon your book;
Or in this service that 'twas my intent
T'exclude your person from your argument:
I shall profess much of the love I ow,
Doth from the root of our extraction grow;
To which though I can little contribute,
Yet with a naturall joy I must impute
To our Tribes honour, what by you is done
Worthy the title of a Prelates son.
And scarcely have two brothers farther borne
A Fathers name, or with more value worne
Their own, then two of you; whose pens and feet
Have made the distant Points of Heav'n to meet;
He by exact discoveries of the West,
Your self by painful travels in the East.
Some more like you might pow'rfully confute
Th' opposers of Priests marriage by the fruit.
And (since tis known for all their streight vow'd life,
They like the sex in any style but wife)
Cause them to change their Cloyster for that State
Which keeps men chaste by vowes legitimate:
Nor shame to father their relations,
Or under Nephews names disguise their sons.
This Child of yours born without spurious blot,
And fairly Midwiv'd as it was begot,
Doth so much of the Parents goodness wear,
You may be proud to own it for your Heir.
Whose choice acquits you from the common sin
Of such, who finish worse then they begin:
You mend upon your self, and your last strain
Does of your first the start in judgment gain;
Since what in curious travel was begun,
You here conclude in a devotion.
Where in delightful raptures we descry
As in a Map, Sions Chorography
Laid out in so direct and smooth a line,
Men need not go about through Palestine:
Who seek Christ here will the streight Rode prefer,
As neerer much then by the Sepulchre.
For not a limb growes here, but is a path;
Which in Gods City the blest Center hath:
And doth so sweetly on each passion strike,
The most fantastick taste will somewhat like.
To the unquiet soul Job still from hence
Pleads in th' example of his patience.
The mortify'd may hear the wise King preach,
When his repentance made him fit to teach.
Nor shall the singing Sisters be content
To chant at home the Act of Parliament,
Turn'd out of reason into rhime by one
Free of his trade, though not of Helicon,
Who did in his Poetick zeal contend
Others edition by a worse to mend.
Here are choice Hymnes and Carolls for the glad,
With melancholy Dirges for the sad:
And David (as he could his skill transfer)
Speaks like himself by an interpreter.
Your Muse rekindled hath the Prophets fire,
And tun'd the strings of his neglected Lyre;
Making the Note and Ditty so agree,
They now become a perfect harmonie.
I must confess, I have long wisht to see
The Psalmes reduc'd to this conformity:
Grieving the songs of Sion should be sung
In phrase not diff'ring from a barbarous tongue.
As if, by custome warranted, we may
Sing that to God we would be loth to say.
Far be it from my purpose to upbraid
Their honest meaning, who first offer made
That book in Meeter to compile, which you
Have mended in the form, and built anew:
And it was well, considering the time,
Which hardly could distinguish verse and rhime.
But now the language, like the Church, hath won
More lustre since the Reformation;
None can condemn the wish or labour spent
Good matter in good words to represent.
Yet in this jealous age some such there be,
So without cause afraid of novelty,
They would not (were it in their pow'r to choose)
An old ill practise for a better lose.
Men who a rustick plainnesse so affect,
They think God served best by their neglect.
Holding the cause would be profan'd by it,
Were they at charge of learning or of wit.
And therefore bluntly (what comes next) they bring
Course and unstudy'd stuffs for offering;
Which like th' old Tabernacles cov'ring are,
Made up of Badgers skins, and of Goats haire.
But these are Paradoxes they must use
Their sloth and bolder ignorance t'excuse.
Who would not laugh at one will naked go,
'Cause in old hangings truth is pictur'd so?
Though plainness be reputed honours note,
They mantles use to beautify the coat;
So that a curious (unaffected) dress
Addes much unto the bodies comeliness:
And wheresoere the subjects best, the sence
Is better'd by the speakers eloquence.
But, Sir, to you I shall no trophee raise
From other mens detraction or dispraise:
That Jewel never had inherent worth,
Which askt such foils as these to set it forth.
If any quarrel your attempt or style,
Forgive them; their own folly they revile.
Since, 'gainst themselves, their factious envy shall
Allow this work of yours Canonicall.
Nor may you fear the Poets common lot,
Read, and commended, and then quite forgot:
The brazen Mines and Marble Rocks shall wast,
When your foundation will unshaken last.
'Tis fames best pay, that you your labours see
By their immortal subject crowned be.
For nere was writer in oblivion hid
Who firm'd his name on such a Pyramid.