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UPON THE DEATH OF THE MOST DESIRED MR HERRYS.
DEATH, what dost? O, hold thy blow,
What thou dost thou dost not know.
Death, thou must not here be cruel,
This is Nature's choicest jewel:
This is he, in whose rare frame
Nature labour'd for a name:
And meant to leave his precious feature
The pattern of a perfect creature.
Joy of Goodness, love of Art,
Virtue wears him next her heart.
Him the Muses love to follow,
Him they call their vice-Apollo.
Apollo, golden though thou be,
Th' art not fairer than is he,
Nor more lovely lift'st thy head,
(Blushing) from thine Eastern bed.
The glories of thy youth ne'er knew
Brighter hopes than his can shew.
Why then should it e'er be seen
That his should fade, while thine is green?
And wilt thou (O, cruel boast!)
poor Nature to such cost?
O, 'twill undo our common mother,
To be at charge of such another.
What? think me to no other end
Gracious heavens do use to send
Earth her best perfection,
But to vanish, and be gone?
Therefore only given to-day,
To-morrow to be snatch'd away?
I've seen indeed the hopeful bud
Of a ruddy rose that stood
Blushing, to behold the ray
Of the new-saluted Day:
(His tender top not fully spread)
The sweet dash of a shower new shed,
Invited him, no more to hide
Within himself the purple pride
Of his forward flower; when lo,
While he sweetly 'gan to show
His swelling glories, Auster spied him,
Cruel Auster thither hied him,
And with the rush of one rude blast,
Shamed not, spitefully to waste
All his leaves, so fresh, so sweet,
And lay them trembling at his feet.
I've seen the Morning's lovely ray,
Hover o'er the new-born Day,
With rosy wings so richly bright,
As if she scorn'd to think of Night;
When a rugged storm, whose scowl
Made heaven's radiant face look foul
Call'd for an untimely night,
To blot the newly-blossom'd light.
But were the rose's blush so rare,
Were the Morning's smile so fair,
As is he, nor cloud, nor wind,
But would be courteous, would be kind.
Spare him Death, ah! spare him then,
Spare the sweetest among men :
And let not Pity, with her tears
Keep such distance from thine ears.
But O, thou wilt not, canst not spare,
Haste hath never time to hear.
Therefore if he needs must go,
And the Fates will have it so ;
Softly may he be possess'd
Of his monumental rest.
Safe, thou dark home of the dead,
Safe, O hide his lovèd head:
Keep him close, close in thine arms,
Sealed up with a thousand charms.
For Pity's sake, O, hide him quite
From his mother Nature's sight;
Lest for grief his loss may move
All her births abortive prove.
AN EPITAPH UPON MR ASHTON, A CON-
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 practice any.
He heard them rev'rently, and then
His practice preach'd 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.
Death's Lecture and Funeral of a Gentleman.
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 call'd 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.
DEAR relics of a dislodged soul, whose lack
Makes many a mourning paper put on black!
O stay awhile, ere thou draw in thy head
And wind thyself up close in thy cold bed.
Stay but a little while, until I call
A summons worthy of thy funeral.
Come then, Youth, Beauty, Blood! all ye soft powers, Whose silken flatteries swell a few fond hours
Into a false eternity. Come man ;
Hyperbolized nothing! know thy span;
Take thine own measure here, down, down, and bow
Before thyself in thine idea; thou
DEATH'S LECTURE AND THE FUNERAL OF A YOUNG GENTLEMAN.
Huge emptiness! contract thy bulk; and shrink
All thy wild circle to a point. O sink
Lower and lower yet; till thy lean size
Call Heaven to look on thee with narrow eyes.
Lesser and lesser yet; till thou begin
To show a face, fit to confess thy kin,
Thy neighbourhood to Nothing!
Proud looks, and lofty eyelids, here put on
Yourselves in your unfeign'd reflection;
Here, gallant ladies! this unpartial glass
(Through all your painting) shows you your true face.
These death-seal'd lips are they dare give the lie
To the loud boasts of poor Mortality;
These curtain'd windows, this retired eye
Out-stares the lids of large-look'd Tyranny.
This posture is the brave one, this that lies
Thus low, stands up (methinks) thus, and defies
The World. All-daring dust and ashes! only you
Of all interpreters read Nature true.
AN EPITAPH UPON A YOUNG MARRIED
DEAD AND BURIED TOGETHER.
To these, whom Death again did wed,
This grave's their second marriage-bed;
For though the hand of Fate could force
'Twixt soul and body, a divorce,
It could not sunder man and wife,
'Cause they both lived but one life.
Peace, good Reader, do not weep.
Peace, the lovers are asleep.