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'Twas the puissant vigour of thine arm,
'Twas the well-labouring project of thy brain,
Which did allay the further fear of harm,
Enriching Britain with this happy gain
Of blessed peace, which now it doth retain:
It was thy wary resolution brought it,
It was thy ready policy that wrought it.
Thou wert a phonix, such a bird is rare,
Rare in this wooden age of avarice,
When thirst of gold, not fame, may best compare
With those of choicest worth, rich men are wise!
Honest, if honesty consist in vice:
'Strong purses have strong friends; he hath most praise
Who hath most wealth: O blindness of our days!
Die thoughts of such corruption, we intend
To shew the substance, not the shadow'd glose;
The praise we speak of doth itself commend,
And needs no ornament, unlike to those
Who by preconion's virtue doth impose
A task upon our quill; not what we would
Do we infer, but what in right we should.
He whom we treat of was a president,
Both for the valiant and judicious,
Both Mercury and Mars were resident
In him at once, sweet words delicious,
And horrid battle were to him auspicious :
Both arms and arguments to force or train,
To win by mildness, or by threats constrain.
Two special beauties chiefly did adorn
His fair, unblemish'd soul, and spotless mind;
To God religious he himself hath borne,
With zealous reverence in zeal enshrin'd;
And to his prince still loyal, ever kind:
At th' one's monarchal government he trembled,
'Cause it the other's deity resembled.
Devout in fervency of ardent love,
Unto the value of salvation,
The due respect of sov'reignty did move
Unto his prince's throne an intimation
Of fear, not mask'd in smooth dissimulation:
He of his race hereafter may be vouch'd,
That he was sound in both, in both untouch'd.
What more yet unremember'd can I say?
And yet what have I said that might suffice?
He was the trophy of a greater day,
Than time would ever limit to our eyes ;
He was a peer of best approved guise:
He was the best, the most, most best of all,
Heaven's pride, earth's joy, we may him justly call.
Heaven's pride! for heaven into him infused
The quintessence of ripe perfection;
No gift on him bestow'd he hath abused,
But better'd by his better life's direction,
Keeping contempt of virtue in subjection:
A penitential, contrite votary,
To sanctimonious, taintless purity.
Earth's joy! for in the earth he liv'd renown'd
By all the excellency of nature's art,
With all the boast and pith of honour crown'd,
That royalty to merit could impart,
The wreath of joys was set beneath his heart:
The light of worth's delight, the Pharaoh's tower,
Which was refulgent by his lordly power.
Thus in the jollity of human pleasure,
Advanced to steps of state and high degree,
Beloved and adored in equal measure,
Of greatest and the meanest fate's decree,
Bent power against his power, for, aye me !
(Fie on that for) while he in glory stood
Of worldly pomp, cold dropp'd his noble blood.
O what Heraclitus would spare his eyes,
To shower tears in showers, and distil
The liquid of a grieved heart's sacrifice,
Which will consume itself? what doleful knell
Of piercing groans will sigh the worst of ill;
The worst of ill, the worst of cruel fate
Could spit even in the bitterness of hate?
All ye who hitherto have read his story,
Just panegyrics of heroic deeds,
Prepare your eyes to weep, your hearts to sorry
The wrack of darkness which from death proceeds,
The murder of delight which murder breeds:
Lo, here an alteration briefly chang’d,
Now all but joy, now from all joy estrang'd !
O coward times, why do you keep your days?
O orbs of heaven, why do you run your course?
O seas, why do not floods your waves upraise,
And ne'er reflow again with moderate source ?
O sun, why dost not quench thy beams hot force?
O, why do all things certain, settled, tarry,
Save men's short lives, who still unconstant vary?
Instance unpartial death, deaf sorrow's subject,
Pleasure's abater, fickle youth's despiser,
Headstrong in malice, inaffected object
To every sense, the subtile sly enticer
To guilded hopes, the heaven's will's revisor:
Instance his triumph, instance his sure dart,
Which misseth none, hits home still to the heart.
Now had the season entertain'd the spring,
And given a welcome to the days of mirth,
When sweet, harmonious birds began to sing,
With pleasant roundelays which graced the earth,
By long expectance of the blossom's birth;
When at the dawn of Flora's trimmed pride,
Ere she perfum'd the air, great DevoNSHIRE died.
He died, a sullied word, a word of ruth,
For ever be it stamp'd in misery;
Fearful unto the old, hated of youth,
Mark'd with the finger of calamity,
Blotted from light of day, night's heraldry:
He died; brief accents, but enduring wo,
The letters for whole dates of grief may go.
Torment of mischief, how thou grat'st my breast!
Mischief of torment, how thou rack'st my soul!
Unhappy cares how is your heart distrest!
Wretched unhappiness, which dost controul
The bliss of comfort, and alike enrol
Sad fortune in the dust; break life asunder:
Death is life's miracle, scorn's thankless wonder,
Wonder, O wonder of short breathed error,
A relic consecrated to defame,
A curb unto the wise, to fools a terror,
A terror of contempt, fear, hate, and shame,
A black oblivionizing of worth's name:
A raser out of memory, the merit
Of many noble peers and peerless spirit.
Who died ? not he whose mongrel baser thought
Was steeped in the puddle of servility;
Not he who days of easy softness sought,
But threats of horror fitting his nobility,
To coronize high soar'd gentility:
Who died? a man:-nay, more; a perfect saint,
Leaving the world in tears of sad complaint.
Life? ah, no life, but soon extinguish'd tapers !
Tapers? no tapers, but a burnt out light!
Light? ah, no light, but exhalation's vapours !
Vapours? no vapours, but ill-blinded sight!
Sight? ah, no sight, but hell's eternal night!
A night? no night, but picture of an elf!
An elf? no elf, but very death itself!