Henry King

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

AN ELEGY Upon the immature loss of the most vertuous Lady Anne Rich


I envy not thy mortal triumphs, Death,
(Thou enemy to Vertue as to Breath)
Nor do I wonder much, nor yet complain
The weekly numbers by thy arrow slain.
The whole world is thy Factory, and we
Like traffick driven and retail'd by Thee:
And where the springs of life fill up so fast,
Some of the waters needs must run to waste.
It is confest, yet must our griefs dispute
That which thine own conclusion doth refute
Ere we begin. Hearken! for if thy ear
Be to thy throat proportion'd, thou canst hear.
Is there no order in the work of Fate?
Nor rule, but blindly to anticipate
Our growing seasons? or think'st thou 'tis just,
To sprinkle our fresh blossomes with thy dust,
Till by abortive funerals, thou bring
That to an Autumn Nature meant a Spring?
Is't not enough for thee that wither'd age
Lies the unpiti'd subject of thy rage;
But like an ugly Amorist, thy crest
Must be with spoyles of Youth and Beauty drest?
In other Camps, those which sate down to day
March first to morrow, and they longest stay
Who last came to the service: But in thine,
Onely confusion stands for discipline.
We fall in such promiscuous heaps, none can
Put any diff'rence 'twixt thy Rear or Van;
Since oft the youngest lead thy Files. For this
The grieved world here thy accuser is,
And I a Plaintiff, 'mongst those many ones
Who wet this Ladies Urn with zealous moanes;
As if her ashes quick'ning into years
Might be again embody'd by our tears
But all in vain; the moisture we bestow
Shall make assoon her curled Marble grow,
As render heat, or motion to that blood,
Which through her veins branch't like an azure flood;
Whose now still Current in the grave is lost,
Lock't up, and fetter'd by eternal frost.
Desist from hence, doting Astrology!
To search for hidden wonders in the sky;
Or from the concourse of malignant starres
Foretel diseases gen'ral as our warres:
What barren droughts, forerunners of lean dearth:
Threaten to starve the plenty of the earth:
What horrid forms of darkness must affright
The sickly world, hast'ning to that long night
Where it must end. If there no Portents are,
No black eclipses for the Kalendar,
Our times sad Annals will remembred be
Ith' loss of bright Northumberland and Thee:
Two Starres of Court, who in one fatal year
By most untimely set dropt from their Sphear.
Shee in the winter took her flight, and soon
As her perfections reach't the point of Noon,
Wrapt in a cloud, contracted her wisht stay
Unto the measure of a short-liv'd day.
But Thou in Summer, like an early Rose
By Deaths cold hand nipp'd as Thou didst disclose,
Took'st a long day to run that narrow stage,
Which in two gasping minutes summ'd thy age.
And, as the fading Rose, when the leaves shed
Lies in its native sweetness buried,
Thou in thy vertues bedded and inherst
Sleep'st with those odours thy pure fame disperst.
Where till that Rising Morn thou must remain,
In which thy wither'd flowres shall spring again.
And greater beauties thy wak't body vest
Then were at thy departure here possest.
So with full eyes we close thy vault. Content
(With what thy loss bequeaths us) to lament,
And make that use of thy griev'd funerall,
As of a Chrystall broken in the fall;
Whose pitti'd fractures gather'd up, and set,
May smaller Mirrours for Thy Sex beget;
There let them view themselves, untill they see
The end of all their glories shew'n in Thee.
Whil'st in the truth of this sad tribute, I
Thus strive to Canonize thy Memory.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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