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Be't so! yet on the theme of this I'll spend
The residue of plaints, and ever mourn
The loss of this great Lord, till travails send
More comfort to my wretched heart forlorn,
Who since at home disgraced, abroad is borne
To sigh the remnant of my wearied breath,
In lamentations of his hapless death.
Sheath up the sword of war, for Mars is dead;
Seal up the smoothed lips of eloquence,
For flowing Mercury is buried;
Droop wisdom, Numa's grave intelligence
Is vanished, African's stout eminence
In DEVONSHIRE lies obscured, for he alone
Exceeded all, they all died in him one.
Charles the Great is dead, who far excell'd
Charles whom former times did call the great;
Charles, who, whilom while on earth he dwell’d,
Adorn'd the exaltation of his seat,
By the alarum of death's grim retreat,
Is muster'd to the camp from whence he came,
Cherubs and seraphims of dateless fame.
O, that a man should ever be created
To eternise his glory here on earth;
Yet have his pomp of glory soon abated,
Even at the present issue of his birth,
And lose the trophy of that instant mirth:
Here is the guerdon'd meed of victory,
No sooner to achieve, as soon to die.
Is death the reward of a glorious deed;
Is death the fee of valour? Is desert
Repaid with death? Shall honour's gain proceed
By loss of life? O then a coward's heart
Of earthly comfort hath the better part:
Then better live in peace and live, than try
The brunt of conquest, and regardless die.
Die thoughts of such disgrace, die thirst of state;
Die thoughts of empty air'd ambition,
Die thoughts of soaring majesty's elate,
Die inclination to conscript condition;
Die pride of empire, sovereignty's commission:
All that in soul of life may be esteemid,
Oh die, fate cannot be with bribes redeem'd!
Die portly hunger of eternity,
Die hot desires of unbounded pleasure,
Die greediness of false prosperity,
Die giddy solace of ill-suited leisure,
Die hopes of hoarded canker-eaten treasure:
Ambition, empire, glory, hopes and joy,
For ever die: for death will all destroy !
For death will all destroy, as he hath done
In seising to his strong, remorseless gripe,
All triumphs noble DEVONSHIRE ever won,
Plucking the blossoms of his youth unripe,
And make them yield unto his thankless gripe:
But ah, why should we task his dart uneven,
Who took from what was more fit for heaven?
He was more fit for heaven than to survive
Amongst the chaff of this unseason'd age,
Where new fantastic joys do seek to thrive,
By following sensual toys of folly's rage,
Making the gloss of vice true virtue's badge:
He saw that shame, which misery begun it,
Seeing he did it scorn, and scorning shun it.
Hence sprung the venom of impoison'd hate,
Poor malediction's sting, who did despise
Bright honour's stamp, which in his bosom sate,
For that he could not brook to temporize
With humours masked in those times disguise:
But let dogs bark, his soul's above their anger,
They cannot wound his worth with envy's slander.
He sleeps secured, and in blessed slumbers
Of peaceful rest, he careless rests in peace,
Singing loud anthems with the sacred numbers
Of happy saints, whose notes do never cease,
But evermore renewing fresh increase:
While he doth sing, and angel's pleasure take,
We mourn his death, and sorry for his sake.
Not for his sake, but for our hapless own,
Who had so rich a prize and did not know it,
Jewels being had for jewels are not known,
For men in happy fortune do foreslow it,
The value when 'tis lost does chiefly show it:
So wretched is our blindness, and so hateful,
As for the gifts we have we are ungrateful.
Ever, as a poring scholar, who hath read
Some cosmographic book, and finds the praise
Of some delicious land deciphered,
Casts sundry plots how by what means and ways
He may partake those pleasures; months and days
Being spent, he goes, and ravish’d with the main
Of such delight, he ne'er returns again.
So DEVONSHIRE, by the books of inspiration,
Contemplating the joys of heaven's content,
In serious thoughts of meditation,
Which he in perfect zeal hath long time spent,
Thirsting to be immortal, hence he went:
He thither comes, and glorying in that sphere,
Unmindful of his home, he triumphs there.
Long may he triumph, overtopping clouds
Of our all-desperate mould's vexation,
Pitying the sorrow which our danger crowds
With joyless taste of true joy's desolation,
While he enjoys his soul's high delectation:
Long may he live whom death now cannot move,
His fame below, his spirit wings above.
Above the reach of human wit's conceit,
Above the censure of depraved spite,
Above earth's paradise's counterfeit,
Above imagination of delight,
Above all thoughts to think, or pens to write:
There doth he dateless days of comfort spend,
Renowned in his life, blest in his end!
In life upright, and therefore rightly good,
Whose glory shin'd on earth, and thence a sun,
By his renown as clear he's understood,
Whose light did set when as his life was done: ,
Bright as the sun, good ever to advance
The soul of merit, spurning ignorance.
Good in the virtue of his powerful arm,
Which brought more peace to peace, chas'd fears of harm
And while he liv'd a wonder maz’d the light,
Two suns appear'd at once, at once as bright:
For when he died and left his fame behind,
One sun remain'd, the truest sun declined.
Dignum laude virum
Musa vetat mori,