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Whence each leaf of life hath date,
Where in sad particulars
The total sum of man appears ;
And the short clause of mortal breath,
Bound in the period of Death :
In all the book, if anywhere
Such a term as this, Spare here,
Could have been found, 'twould have been read,
Writ in white letters o'er his head :
Or close unto his name anne
The fair gloss of a fairer text.
In brief, if any one were free,
He was that one, and only he.
But he, alas ! even he is dead,
And our hopes' fair harvest spread
In the dust! Pity, now spend
All the tears that Grief can lend.
Sad Mortality may hide
In his ashes all her pride ;
With this inscription o'er his head :
All hope of never dying here is dead.
Passenger, whoe'er thou art,
Stay awhile, and let thy heart
Take acquaintance of this stone,
Before thou passest further on ;
This stone will tell thee, that beneath
Is entombed the crime of Death ;
The ripe endowments of whose mind
Left his years so much behind,
That numbering of his virtues' praise,
Death lost the reckoning of his days;
And believing what they told,
Imagined him exceeding old.
In him Perfection did set forth
The strength of her united worth;
Him his wisdom's pregnant growth
Made so reverend, even in youth,
That in the centre of his breast
(Sweet as is the phoenix' nest)
Every reconciled grace
Had their general meeting-place.
In him Goodness joy'd to see
Learning learn humility;
The splendour of his birth and blood
Was but the gloss of his own good.
The flourish of his sober youth
Was the pride of naked truth.
In composure of his face
Lived a fair, but manly grace;
His mouth was Rhetoric's best mould,
His tongue the touchstone of her gold;
What word soe'er his breath kept warm,
Was no word now but a charm :
For all persuasive Graces thence
Sucked their sweetest influence.
His virtue that within had root,
Could not choose but shine without;
And th' heart-bred lustre of his worth,
At each corner peeping forth,
Pointed him out in all his ways,
Circled round in his own rays :
That to his sweetness all men's eyes
Were vow'd Love's flaming sacrifice.
Him while fresh and fragrant Time
Cherish'd in his golden prime;
Ere Hebe's hand had overlaid
His smooth cheeks with a downy shade;
The rush of Death's unruly wave
Swept him off into his grave.
Enough, now (if thou canst) pass on, For now (alas !) not in this stone (Passenger, whoe'er thou art) Is he entomb'd, but in thy heart.
An Epitaph upon Doctor Brook.
A Brook, whose stream so great, so good,
Was loved, was honour'd as a flood :
Whose banks the Muses dwelt upon,
More than their own Helicon ;
Here at length hath gladly found
A quiet passage under ground;
Meanwhile his loved banks, now dry,
The Muses with their tears supply.
An Epitaph upon Mr. Ashton, a Conformable
The modest front of this small floor,
Believe me, Reader, can say more
Than many a braver marble can,
Here lies a truly honest man.
One whose conscience was a thing
That troubled neither Church nor King.
One of those few that in this town
Honour all Preachers, hear their own.
Sermons he heard, yet not so many
As left no time to practise any.
He heard them reverently, and then
His practice preached them o'er again.
His Parlour-Sermons rather were
Those to the eye than to the ear.
His prayers took their price and strength
Not from the loudness, nor the length.
He was a Protestant at home
Not only in despite of Rome.
He loved his Father; yet his zeal
Tore not off his Mother's veil.
To th' Church he did allow her dress,
True Beauty, to true Holiness.
Peace, which he loved in life, did lend
Her hand to bring him to his end.
When Age and Death called for the score
No surfeits were to reckon for.
Death tore not—therefore—but sans strife
Gently untwined his thread of life.
What remains then but that thou
Write these lines, Reader, in thy brow,
And by his fair example's light
Burn in thy imitation bright.
So while these lines can but bequeath
A life perhaps unto his death;
His better Epitaph shall be
His life still kept alive in thee.
When you are mistress of the song,
Mighty queen, to think it long,
Were treason 'gainst that majesty
Your Virtue wears. Your modesty