Henry King

(16 January 1592 – 30 September 1669 / Worminghall, Buckinghamshire)

AN ELEGY Upon Mrs. Kirk unfortunately drowned in Thames


For all the Ship-wracks, and the liquid graves
Lost men have gain'd within the furrow'd waves,
The Sea hath fin'd and for our wrongs paid use,
When its wrought foam a Venus did produce.
But what repair wilt thou unhappy Thames
Afford our losse? thy dull unactive streames
Can no new beauty raise, nor yet restore
Her who by thee was ravisht from our shore:
Whose death hath stain'd the glory of thy flood,
And mixt the guilty Channel with her blood.
O Neptune! was thy favour onely writ
In that loose Element where thou dost sit?
That after all this time thou should'st repent
Thy fairest blessing to the Continent?
Say, what could urge this Fate? is Thetis dead,
Or Amphitrite from thy wet armes fled?
Was't thou so poor in Nymphs, that thy moist love
Must be maintain'd with pensions from above?
If none of these, but that whil'st thou did'st sleep
Upon thy sandy pillow in the deep,
This mischief stole upon us: may our grief
Waken thy just revenge on that slie thief,
Who in thy fluid Empire without leave,
And unsuspected, durst her life bereave.
Henceforth invert thy order, and provide
In gentlest floods a Pilot for our guide.
Let rugged Seas be lov'd, but the Brooks smile
Shunn'd like the courtship of a Crocodile;
And where the Current doth most smoothly pass,
Think for her sake that stream deaths Looking-glass,
To shew us our destruction is most neer,
When pleasure hath begot least sense of fear.
Else break thy forked Scepter 'gainst some Rock,
If thou endure a flatt'ring calm to mock
Thy far-fam'd pow'r, and violate that law
Which keeps the angry Ocean in aw.
Thy Trident will grow useless, which doth still
Wild tempests, if thou let tame rivers kill.
Mean time we ow thee nothing. Our first debt
Lies cancell'd in thy watry Cabinet.
We have for Her thou sent'st us from the Main,
Return'd a Venus back to thee again.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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