Page images
PDF
EPUB

Noble he was, witness his elate spirit,
Whose unappalled stomach scorn'd compare;
Noble he was, witness his peerless merit,
Which stain'd competitors, witness his rare
Renown'd examples do the same declare:

Noble he was, in that he could not brook
To have his equal, or for sword or book.

O had his ancestors but heretofore
Dreamt such a son should spring from out their line,
They might have truly griev'd, and ever more
Have blush'd to think on it, that one divine
Should be their offspring, deeming it a sign

Of a less glorious happiness for them:
Better might they have drawn their race from him.

Then happy they that are, or shall be ever,
Deducted from the issue of this blood,
Immortal be this name, worn, wasted never,
The index to true fame, happy the good
Allied in him by kin, or brotherhood :

Such his desert, nor time nor malice term'd it,
His youth first promis'd, and his years confirm'd it.

For being now appendant to the court,
His presence was the court to draw it to him:
The saints of that smooth paradise resort
With pleasure to behold, beholding woo him,
And what their favours can they vow to do him:

Yea, he rejoiced the earth's great deity,
That such a subject graced her empiry.

Here he began to taste the fragrant smack,
The catapotion of heart-easing love;
Here he persever'd to assault the wrack
Of supple passion, proving to disprove,
That any soil firm-settled thoughts should move:

Here was he first who taught what should be done,
How ladies should be lov’d, serv'd, woo'd, and won.

In this secured solace of sweet peace,
He nurs'd his younger joys, nor wholly bent
To wanton, sick, lascivious, amorous ease,
But to more primer passions of content,
Of civil mirth and jocund merriment:

Mirth in his looks, and virtue in his tongue,
Fresh as the balm, smooth as the mermaid's song.

Activity abroad, dalliance in chamber,
Becomes a perfect courtier, such was he,
What maiden breast so nice, as locks of amber
Could not enchant with love's captivity?
Free spirits soon are caught when slaves

go
What uncontrouled soul is so precise,
As may, yet will not, taste earth's paradise ?

free:

MOUNTJOY (the mounting joy of heaven's perfection)
Was all a man should be in such an age,
Nor void of love's sense, nor yok'd in subjection
Of servile passion, theme for every stage,
Honour for him did honour's pawn engage:

Be witness slander's self, who must avow
Virtue adorn'd his mind, triumph his brow.

Nor did the pleasure of these courtly sports,
Endear him to the softness of such ease;
His ever-mounting thought far more imports,
The thirst of fame such form'd ideas please,
The resty delicates of sweet disease:

To run a race at tilt, to catch the ring,
Did greater glory to his projects bring.

Let smooth-chinn'd amourists be cloy'd in play,
And surfeit on the bane of hateful leisure,
Let idle hours follies youth betray,
Unto the idle shame of boundless pleasure,
Such petty apes

of silk want reason's measure:
Great MOUNTJOY saw such looseness of the witty,
Which seeing did not more disdain than pity.

No, his deep-reaching spirit could not brook
The fond addiction to such vanity,
Regardful of his honour he forsook
The smicker use of court humanity,
Of rural clownage, or urbanity:

He lov'd the worthy and endeavouring prov'd,
How of the worthy he might be belov'd.

Now he delights to see the falcon soar
About the top of heaven; then to chase
The nimble buck, or hunt the bristled boar
From out the sty of terror: now the race;
Barriers and sports of honourable grace;

Not games of thriftless prodigality,
But plots of fame and fame's eternity.

For after toys of courtship he assays
Which way to manage an untamed horse,
When, how, to spur, and rein, to stop, and raise,
Close sitting, voltage of a man-like force,
When in career to meet with gallant course:

As Centaurs were both horse and men, so he
Seem'd on the horse, nor could discerned be.

a

Such private exercise which limn'd the way
To public reputation, was his scope,
Each hour graced hour, and each day graced day,
With further expectation of great hope,
Nor did his youth his noble levels stop:

He aim'd at high designs, and so attain’d
The high assigns to which his spirit aim'd.

Lo here the pith of valour moulded fast,
In curious workmanship of Nature's art:
Lo here the monuments which ever last,
To all succeeding ages of desert,
Noble in all, and all in every part:

Records of fame, and characters of brass,
Containing acts, such acts conceit do pass.

Triumphant soul of such a prince-like lord,
O I could dry the fountains of mine eyes
Upon thy coffin's hearse, and every word
Which sorrow should out-sigh or grief implies,
I could resolve two drops of sacrifice,

And spend them on the ever-gaping womb
Of the unseason'd earth, thy sacred tomb.

The sweetest cygnet of thy comfort's haven,
Thy life's last paradise, thy heart's first love,
Could not bemoan the loss of thee bereven,
With more sweet-piercing plaints than I have strove
To volly my discomforts, yet approve,

Dear creature, thy too dearly bought distress,
By vulgar censure's base unhappiness.

But ah, be still thyself, let not defame
Of the rude chaos aggravate thy woes,
The multitudes' blind slander is no shame,
Rusticity his joy by malice knows,
The better best in judging better shows :

Let gross uncivil hinds regardless sleep,
Remember thou thy loss, rememb’ring weep!

So mayst thou, knightly youth, who wert his friend,
Companion to his chamber and his bed :
His loves much largess did to thee extend,
And made the rumour of thy name be spread,
Even to thy native west where thou wert bred;

Ah, do not him forget who honour'd thee
With perfect rites of mutual amity.

Nor canst thou stop the flood-gates of thine eyes,
Great peer of worth and state, who griev'd thy thrall,
For peerless Essex' strife who sought to rise
In virtuous honour, which procur'd thy fall;
DEVONSHIRE bewail'd thy dangers bitter gall:

Then in requital of much more than this,
Sigh thou for him, still love, and cherish his.

« PreviousContinue »