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Mortalities Memorandum (1621)

Rachel Speght

Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text is based on that of the British Museum copy of the first edition. Transcription by Shirley Marc, Center for the Study of Women in Society, University of Oregon, July 1998. Long "s" has been modernized. Catchwords have been eliminated. Pagination and signature notation are retained in comment tags in the source code. Typographical errors have been emended within square brackets. This edition may not work properly with browsers that cannot handle tables.

The text is in the public domain; matter unique to this edition copyright © 1998 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only.


fixed, imaginarie in manner;
reall in matter.


Liue to die, for die thou must,
Die to liue, amongst the iust.


[printers ornament]

Printed by E D VV A R D  G R I F F I N for
I A C O B  B L O O M E, and are to be sould at his Shop in
Pauls Church-yard at the signe of the Gray-
hound. 1 6 2 1.



Gentlewoman, her most respected God-
Mother Mrs Marie Moundford, wife
vnto the worshipfull Doctour
Moundford Physitian.

AMongst diuersitie of motiues to induce the divulging of that to publicque view, which was devoted to priuate Contemplation, none is worthy to precede desire of common benefit. Corne kept close in a garner feeds not the hungry; A candle put vnder a bushell doth not illuminate an house; None but vnprofitable seruants knit vp Gods talent in a Napkin. These premises haue caused the Printing presse to expresse the subsequent Memorandum of Mortalitie, by which if obliuious persons shall bee incited to premeditation off, and preparation against their last houre, when inevitable Death seazing on them, shall cease their beeing vpon earth, I shall with Iacob say, I haue enough: I leuell at no other marke, nor ayme at other end, but
Gen. 45.28.
to haue all sorts to marke and prouide for their latter end. I know these populous times affoord plentie of forward Writers, and criticall Readers; My selfe hath made the number of the one too many by one; and hauing bin toucht with the censures of the other, by occasion of my mouzeling Melastomus, I am now, as by a strong motiue induced (for my rights sake) to produce and divulge this of spring of my indeuour, to proue them further futurely who haue formerly depriued me of my due, imposing my abortiue vpon the father of me, but not of it. Their varietie of verdicts haue verified the adagie quot homines, tot sententiæ, and made my experience confirme that apothegme which doth affirme Censure to be inevitable to a publique act.
      Vnto your worthy selfe doc I dedicate the sequel as a testimonie of my true thankefulnesse for your fruitfull loue, euer since my beeing, manifested toward me, your actions hauing beene the Character of your affection; and that hereby the world may witnesse, that the promise you made for me, when I could make none for my selfe, my carefull friend (amongst whom I must repute your euer esteemed selfe) haue beene circumspect to see performed. I would not haue any one falsly to thinke that this Memorandum is presented to your person to implie in you defect of those duties which it requires; but sincerely to denote you as a paradigma to others; for what it shews to be done, shewes but what you have done, yet ere I leaue, giue me leaue to put you in minde of Paules
Gal. 6.9.
precept, be not wearie of well-doing, for in due time you shall reape if you faint not. Thus presenting vnto God my supplication, and vnto you my operation, the former to him for your safetie, the later to you for your seruice, I euer remaine


Your God daughter in dutie

R A C H E L   S P E G H T.

[printers ornament]

¶ To the Reader.

Eaders too common, and plentifull be;
For Readers they are that can read a, b, c.
And vtter their verdict on what they doe view,
Though none of the
Muses they yet euer knew.
But helpe of such Readers at no time I craue,
Their silence, than censure, I rather would haue:
For ignorant Dunces doe Soonest depraue.

But, courteous Reader, who euer thou art,
Which these my endeuours do'st take in good part,
Correcting with iudgement the faults thou do'st finde,
With fauour approuing what pleaseth thy minde.
To thee for thy vse, and behoofe, I extend
This poore
Memorandum of our latter end.
Thus wishing thee wellfare, I rest a true friend.

to those which (Art affect,
And learnings fruit) respect.
R A C H E L   S P E GH T.

The Dreame.

Hen splendent Sol,which riseth in the East,
Returning thence tooke harbour in the West;
When Phoebus layd her head in Titans lap,
And Creatures sensitiue made hast to rest;
When skie which earst look't like to azure blew,
Left colour bright, and put on sable hew.

Then did Morpheus close my drowsie eyes,
And stood as Porter at my sences dore,
Divrnall cares excluding from my minde;
Including rest, (the salue for labours sore.)
Nights greatest part in quiet sleepe I spent,
But nothing in this world is permanent.

For ere Aurora spread her glittering beames,
Or did with roabes of light her selfe invest,
My mentall quiet sleepe did interdict,
By entertaining a nocturnall guest.
A Dreame which did my minde and sense possesse,
With more then I by Penne can well expresse.

At the appoyntment of supernall power,
By instrumentall meanes me thought I came
Into a place most pleasant to the eye,
Which for the beautie some did Cosmus name,
Where stranger-like on euery thing I gaz'd,
But wanting wisedome was as one amaz'd.

Vpon a sodeyne, as I gazing stood,
Thought came to me, and ask't me of my state,
Inquiring what I was, and what I would,
And why I seem'd as one disconsolate:
To whose demand, I thus againe replide,
I, as a stranger in this place abide.

The Hauen of my voyage is remote
I haue not yet attain'd my iourneyes end;
Yet know I not, nor can I giue a guesse,
How short a time I in this place shall spend.
For that high power, which sent me to this place,
Doth onely know the period of my race.

The reason of my sadnesse at this time,
Is, 'cause I feele my selfe nor very well,
Vnto you I shall much obliged bee,
If for my griefe a remedie you'le tell.
Quoth shee, if you your maladie will show,
My best aduise I'le willingly bestow.

My griefe, quoth I, is called Ignorance,
Which makes me differ little from a brute:
For animals are led by natures lore,
Their seeming science is but customes fruit;
When they are hurt they haue a sense of paine;
But want the sense to cure themselues againe.

And euer since this griefe did me oppresse,
Instinct of nature is my chiefest guide;
I feele disease, yet know not what I ayle,
I finde a sore, but can no salue prouide;
I hungry am, yet cannot seeke for foode;
Because I know not what is bad or good.

And sometimes when I seeke the golden meane,
My weaknesse makes me faile of mine intent,
That suddenly I fall into extremes,
Nor can I see a mischiefe to preuent;
But feele the paine when I the perill finde,
Because my maladie doth make me blinde.

What is without the compasse of my braine;
My sicknesse makes me say it cannot bee;
What I conceiue not, cannot come to passe;
Because for it I can no reason see.
I measure all mens feer by mine owne shooe,
And count all well, which I appoint or doe.

The pestilent effects of my disease
Exceed report, their number is so great;
The euils, which through it I doe incur,
Are more then I am able to repeat.
Wherefore, good Thought, I sue to thee againe,
To tell me how my cure I may obtaine.

Quoth she, I wish I could prescribe your helpe;
You state I pitie much, and doe bewaile;
But for my part, though I am much imploy'd,
Yet in my iudgement I doe often faile.
And therefore I'le commend vnto your triall
Experience, of whom take no deniall.

For she can best direct you, what is meet
To worke your cure, and satisfie your minde;
I thank'd her for her loue, and tooke my leaue,
Demanding where I might Experience finde.
She told me if I did abroad enquire,
I was likely Age could answer my desire.

I sought, I found, She ask't me what I would;
Quoth I, your best direction I implore:
For I am troubled with an irkesome griefe,
Which when I nam'd, quoth she declare no more:
For I can tell as much, as you can say,
And for your cure I'le help you what I may.

The onely medicine for your maladie,
By which, and nothing else your helpe is wrought,
Is Knowledge, of the which there is two sorts,
The one is good, the other bad and nought;
The former sort by labour is attain'd,
The latter may without much toyle be gain'd.

But 'tis the good, which must effect your cure,
I pray'd her then, that she would further show,
Where I might haue it, that I will, quoth shee,
In Eruditions garden it doth grow:
And in compassion of your woefull case,
Industrie shall conduct you to the place.

Disswasion hearing her assigne my helpe,
(And seeing that consent I did detect)
Did many remoraes to me propose,
As dulnesse, and my memories defect;
The difficultie of attaining lore,
My time, and sex, with many others more.

Which when I heard, my minde was much perplext,
And as a horse new come into the field,
Who with a Harquebuz at first doth start,
So did this shot make me recoyle and yeeld.
But of my feare when some did notice take,
In my behalfe, they this reply did make.

First quoth Desire, Disswasion, hold thy peace,
These oppositions come not from aboue:
Quoth Truth, they cannot spring from reasons roote,
And therefore now thou shalt no victor proue.
No, quoth Industrie, be assured this,
Her friends shall make thee of thy purpose misse.

For with my sickle I will cut away
All obstacles, that in her way can grow,
And by the issue of her owne attempt,
I'le make thee labor omnia vincet know.
Quoth Truth, and sith her sex thou do'st obiect,
Thy folly I by reason will detect.

Both man and woman of three parts consist,
Which Paul doth bodie, soule, and spirit call:
And from the soule three faculties arise,
I. Thess. 5.23.

Luke 19.23.

I. Sam. 2.3.
Luke 10.42.

The mind, the will, the power; then wherefore shall
A woman haue her intellect in vaine,
Or not endeuour Knowledge to attaine.

The talent, God doth giue, must be imploy'd,
His owne with vantage he must haue againe:
All parts and faculties were made for vfe:
The God of Knowledge nothing gaue in vaine.
'Twas Maries choyce our Sauiour did approue,
Because that she the better part did loue.

Cleobulina, and Demophila,
With Telesilla, as Historians tell,
(Whose fame doth liue, though they haue long bin dead)
Did all of them in Poetrie excell.
A Roman matron that Cornelia hight,
An eloquent and learned style did write.

Hypatia in Astronomie had skill,
Aspatia was in Rheth'ricke so expert,
As that Duke Pericles of her did learne;
Areta did deuote her selfe to art:
And by consent (which shewes she was no foole)
She did succeed her father in his schoole.

And many others here I could produce,
Who were in Science counted excellent;
But these examples which I haue rehearst,
To shew they error are sufficient.
Thus hauving sayd, she turn'd her speech to mee,
That in my purpose I might constant bee.

My friend, quoth she, regard not vulgar talke;
For dung-hill Cocks at precious stones will spurne,
And swine-like natures prize not cristall streames,
Contemned mire, and mud will serue their turne.
Good purpose seldome oppositions want:
But constant mindes Disswasion cannot daunt.

Shall euery blast disturbe the Saylors peace?
Or boughes and bushes Trauellers affright?
True valour doth not start at euery noyse;
Small combates must instruct for greater fight.
Disdaine to bee with euery dart dismayd;
'Tis childish to be suddenly affrayd.

If thou didst know the pleasure of the place,
Where Knowledge growes, and where thou mayst it gaine;
Or rather knew the vertue of the plant,
Thou would it not grudge at any cost, or paine,
Thou canst bestow, to purchase for thy cure
This plant, by which of helpe thou shalt be sure.

Let not Disswasion alter thy intent;
'Tis finne to nippe good motions in the head;
Take courage, and be constant in thy course,
Though iresome be the path, which thou must tread.
Sicke folkes drinke bitter medicines to be well,
And to inioy the nut men cracke the shell.

When Truth had ended what shee meant to say,
Desire did moue me to obey her will,
Whereto consenting I did soone proceede,
Her counseil, and my purpose to fulfill;
And by the helpe of industrie my friend,
I quickly did attaine my iourneys end.

Where being come, Instructions pleasant ayre
Refresht my senses, which were almost dead,
And fragrant flowers of sage and fruitfull plants,
Did send sweete sauours vp into my head;
And taste of science appetite did moue,
To augment Theorie of things aboue.

There did the harmonie of those sweete birds,
(Which higher soare with contemplations wings,
Then barely with a superficiall view,
Denote the value of created things.)
Yeeld such delight as made me to implore,
That I might reape this pleasure more and more.

And as I walked wandring with Desire,
To gather that, for which I thither came;
(Which by the helpe of industrie I found)
I met my old acquaintance, Truth by name;
Whom I requested briefely to declare,
The vertue of that plant I found so rare.

Quoth shee, by it Gods image man doth beare,
Col. 3.10.

Prov. 19.2.

Iohn 17.3.

Without it he is but a humane shape,
Worse then the Deuill; for he knoweth much;
Without it who can any ill escape?
By vertue of it euils are withstood;
The minde without it is not counted good.

Who wanteth Knowledge is a Scripture foole,
Against the Ignorant the Prophets pray;
And Hosea threatens iudgement vnto those,
Whom want of Knowledge made to runne astray.
Without it thou no practique good canst show,
More then by hap, as blind men hit a Crow.

True Knowledge is the Window of the soule,
Through which her obiects she doth speculate;
It is the mother of faith, hope, and loue;
Without it who can vertue estimate?
By it, in grace thou shalt desire to grow;
'Tis life eternall God and Christ to Know.

Great Alexander made so great account,
Of Knowledge, that he oftentimes would say,
That he to Aristotle was more bound
For Knowledge, vpon which Death could not pray,
Then to his Father Phillip for his life,
Which was vncertaine, irkesome, full of strife.

This true report put edge vnto Desire,
Who did incite me to increase my store,
And told me 'twas a lawfull auarice,
To couet Knowledge daily more and more.
This counsell I did willingly obey,
Till some occurrence called me away.

And made me rest content with that I had,
Which was but little, as effect doth show;
And quenched hope for gaining any more,
For I my time must other-wayes bestow.
I therefore to that place return'd againe,
From whence I came, and where I must remaine.

But by the way I saw a full fed Beast,
Which roared like some monster, or a Deuill,
And on Eues sex he foamed filthie froth,
As if that he had had the falling euill;
To whom I went to free them from mishaps,
And with a Mouzel sought to binde his chaps.

But, as it seemes, my moode out-run my might,
Which when a selfe-conceited Creature saw,
Shee past her censure on my weake exployt,
And gaue the beast a harder bone to gnaw;
Haman shee hangs, 'tis past he cannot shun it;
For Ester in the Pretertense hath done it.

And yet her enterprize had some defect,
The monster surely was not hanged quite:
For as the childe of Prudence did conceiue,
His throat not stop't he still had power to bite.
She therefore gaue to Cerberus a soppe,
Which is of force his beastly breath to stoppe.

But yet if he doe swallow downe that bit,
Shee other-wayes hath bound him to the peace;
And like an Artist takes away the cause,
That the effect by consequence may cease.
This franticke dogge, whose rage did women wrong,
Hath Constance worm'd to make him hold his tongue.

Thus leauing them I passed on my way,
But ere that I had littel further gone,
I saw a fierce insatiable foe,
Depopulating Countries, sparing none;
Without respect of age, sex, or degree,
It did deuoure, and could not daunted be.

Some fear'd this foe, some lou'd it as a friend;
For though none could the force of it withstand,
Yet some by it were sent to Tophets flames,
But others led to heauenly Canaan land.
On some it seazed with a gentle power,
And others furiously it did deuoure.

The name of this impartiall foe was Death,
Whose rigour whil'st I furiously did view,
Vpon a sodeyne, ere I was aware;
With [pearcing] dart my mother deare it flew;
Which when I saw it made me so to weepe,
That teares and sobs did rouze me from my sleepe.

But, when I wak't, I found my dreame was true;
For Death had ta'ne my mothers breath away,
Though of her life it could not her bereaue,
Sith shee in glorie liues with Christ for aye;
Which makes me glad, and thankefull for her blisse,
Though still bewayle her absence, whom I misse.

A sodeine sorrow peirceth to the quicke,
Speedie encounters fortitude doth try;
Vnarmed men receue the deepest wound,
Expected perils time doth lenifie;
Her sodeine losse hath cut my feeble heart,
So deepe, that daily I indure the smart.

The roote is kil'd, how can the boughs but fade!
But sith that Death this cruell deed hath done,
I'le blaze the nature of this mortall foe,
And shew how it to tyranize begun.
The sequell then with iudgement view aright,
The profit may and will the paines require.


Esto Memor Mortis.
[printers ornament]

Mortalities Memorandum.

Hen Elohim had giuen time beginning,
Gen. 1.1.
Prov. 16.4.
In the beginning God began to make
The heauens, and earth,
with all that they containe,
Which were created for his Glories sake;
And to be Lord of part of worke or'e-past,
He Adam made, and Eue of him at last.

In Eden garden God did place them both,
To whom Commaund of all the trees he gaue,
The fruit of one tree onely to forbeare,
On paine of Death (his owne he did but craue,)
And Sathan thinking this their good too great,
Suggests the Woman, shee the man, they eate.

Thus eating both, they both did ioyntly sinne,
And Elohim dishonoured by their act;
Doth ratifie, what he had earst decreed,
That Death must be the wages of their fact;
Thus on them, and their offspring thenceforth seaz'd
Mortalitie, because they God displeas'd.

In Adam all men die, not one that's free
From that condition we from him deriue,
By sinne Death entred, and began to raigne,
Gen. 2.17.

I. Cor. 15.22.

Rom. 5.12.

But yet in Christ shall all be made alive.
Who did triumph o're sinne, o're Death, and hell,
That all his chosen may in glorie dwell.

Considering then Iehovahs iust decree,
That man shall surely taste of Death through sinne,
I much lament, when as I mete in minde,
The dying state securely men liue in;
Excluding from their memories that day,
When they from hence by Death must passe away.

The Scripture mentioneth three kindes of Death,
The first whereof is called Death in sinne,
When as the bodie liues, and soule is Dead,
This sort of Death did other Deaths beginne.
The Widowes, whom Saint Paul doth specifie,
Their life in pleasure caus'd their soules to die.

Ephes. 2.1.

I. Tim. 5.6.

Mat. 15.26.

Rom. 6.11.

The vnregenerated sinnefull man,
That seemes to liue, but is in spirit Dead,
Liues to the world and daily dies to God,
Prepostrously his course of life is led;
He liues and dies, but cannot die and liue,
The Childrens bread to Whelps God will not giue.

The second kind of Death is Death to sinne,
Whreeby the faithfull and regenerate man
Doth daily Mortifie his ill desires,
That sin doth neither raigne in him, nor can.
Thus dying in this life, in Death he liues,
And after Death to him God glorie giues.

The third and last of these, is Death by sinne,
Which as a roote two braunches forth doth send,
The former bough whereof is Corp'rall Death,
The latter Death eternall without end.
Which end without end God doth destinate,
To be the stipend of the Reprobate.

This is that Death which sacred Scripture calls
The second Death, or separation
Of soule, and bodie from the loue of God;
The sinners lot, iust Condemnation.
Which cannot be to them, that are in Christ,
Whole life is hid with him in God the hyest.

A Corp'rall Death is common vnto all,
To young, and old, to godly and vniust;
The Prince, that swayes the scepter of a Realme,
Must with his Subiects turne by Death to dust.
Rom. 8.1.

Col. 3.3.

Eccles. 12.7.

Gen. 3.19.

Gen. 3.15.

This is the period of all Adams lyne,
Which Epilogue of life I thus define.

When soule and bodie by one spirit knit,
Vnloosed are, and dust returnes to earth,
The spirit vnto God that gaue it man,
By which he liues in wombe before his birth;
The bodie voyd of soule, bereft of breath,
Is that condition called Corp'rall Death.

This is that Death, which leades the soule to life,
This is that friend, which frees vs from our paine,
This is the Portall of true Paradise,
Through which we passe eternall life to gaine;
This is the leader vnto ioy or woe,
This is the dore, through which all men must goe.

Death was at first inflicted as a curse,
But Womans seede hasth brooke the Serpents head,
His bitter Death for vs hath gained life,
His agonie hath freed his owne from dread.
Death is that guest the godly wish to see;
For when it comes, their troubles ended be.

All things doe worke together for the best
To those, that loue and are beloued of God;

If all things, then must also sinne and Death,
Sicknesse, and sorrowes, worlds owne scourging rod:
For in despight of flesh, the world, and Deuill,
God to his Children brings good out of euill.

First, we by Death are freed from present woe,
And such Gods spirit hath pronounced blest,
As in the Lord depart this irkesome life;
For from their labours they for euer rest.
'Tis Death Conducts vs to the land of peace,
Then welcome Death, which doth all sorrowes cease.

If man were fettred in a loathsome goale,
Without one sparke of hope to come from thence,
Till Prison walls were leuell with the ground,
Rom. 8.1.

Reuel. 14.13.

Psal. 142.7.

I. King. 19.4.

He would be glad to see their fall Commence.
Thy bodies ruine then reioyce to see,
That out of Goale thy soule may loosed be.

What worse Bocardo for the soule of man,
Then is the bodie, which with filth is fraught;
Witnesse the sinkes thereof, through which doe passe
The excrements, appoynted for the draught.
Euacuations, loathsome in their smell,
Egested filth, vnfit for tongue to tell.

From out of Prison bring my soule O Lord,
Was Dauids earnest and sincere desire,
Eliah in the anguish of his heart,
Did Death in stead of irkesome life require.
Vile, Liue, and Euil, haue the selfe same letters,
He liues but vile whom euil houlds in fetters.

Thy Heathens make report, that Argia,
To yeeld requitall for the toyle and paine,
Which Biton and Cleobis for her tooke,
Desir'd the goddesse Iuno, they might gaine
The greatest good, she could to man bequeath,
Which graunted was, and paid with sodeine Death.

The Thracians sadly sorrow and lament,
When as their Children first behold the light,
But with great exultation they reioyce,
What time their friends doe bid the world Good night.
When Dauids Childe was sicke he would not eate,
But being Dead, he rose and call'd for meate.

By Death we secondly deliuered are,
2. Sam. 12.20.

I. Esay 57.1.

I. King 14.13.

From future sorrowes, and calamities,
The godly perish and are ta'ne away
From ill to come,
as Esay testifies.
And thus God cut of Ieroboams sonne,
Because he saw some good in him begun.

We thirdly are, by Death exempt from sinne,
And freed from bondage of inthralled woe,
'Tis true, that lifes the blessing of the Lord,
But yet by it sinne doth increase and grow.
And sinne is but the of-spring of the Deuill,
Then blest is he, whom Death frees from this euill.

To some the Lord in mercie graunteth space,
For true repentance of committed sinne,
And reformation of those euill wayes,
Which through corruption they haue walked in;
And other some, who sinne as earst before,
He takes away, that they may sinne no more.

Death Corporall in fine is as a dore,
Through which our soules doe passe without delay
Into those ioyes, which cannot be conceiu'd;
This truth is proued plaine, where Christ doth say,
Luke 23.43.
To day thou shalt be with mee to that theefe,
Which at last gaspe did beg his soules reliefe.

What is this world, if ballanced with heauen;
Earths glorie fades, but heauenly ioyes indure,
This life is full of sicknesse, want, and woe;
But life through Christ hath no disease to cure.
In heauen there is no maladie or paine,
But melodie, true comfort to maintaine.

There Saints are Crown'd with matchlesse maiestie,
Invested with eternall roabes of glorie;
There Sunne doth shine, and suffers no eclips,
Earths chiefest ioyes are vaine, and transitorie.
Vnconstant, fading, fickle, and vnsure,
But heauens pleasures permanent endure.

There is no penurie, or choaking care
For present time, or the succeeding morrow;
But there are riches without toyle attain'd;
Myrth without mourning, solace without sorrow.
Peace without perill, plentie without want,
Where without asking, God doth all things grant.

The eye of man hath neuer yet beheld,
Nor hath his eare [atteined] once to heare,
Ne yet his heart conceiu'd, or vnderstood
The ioyes prepar'd, and purchas'd for the deare
And chosen Children of our heauenly Father,
Who doth his sheepe into one sheepe-fould gather.

I. Cor. 2.9.

Phil. 3.21.

Ephes. 2.20.

Eccles. 7.3.

And as our soules prossesse true happinesse,
So shall our mortall bodies vile and base,
Be rais'd immortall by the power of Christ,
And with our soules enioy a glorious place,
That re-vnited they may ioyne in one,
To sing the praises of the Corner-Stone.

The day of Death, saith Salomon the Wife,
(Which paradox the Godly approbate)
Is better then the day that one is borne;
For Death conducts vs to a blisse-full state.
'Tis Lazars friend, though it seeme Diues foe,
But life inducts vs to a world of woe.

The Mariner, which doth assay to passe
The raging seas into some forraine land,
Desireth much to haue his voyage ended,
And to arriue vpon the solid sand.
All creatures with desire doe seeke for rest,
After they haue with labour beene opprest.

The Pilgrim, which a iourney vndertakes,
Feeding his fancie with exoticke sights,
Deemes not his way much iresome to his foot;
Because his paine is mixed with delights.
For 'tis his ioy to thinke vpon that day,
When he shall see the period of his way.

Men are as Saylors in this irksome life,
Who at the hauen alwayes cast their eye,
As Pilgrims wandring in a vncouth land.
Then who is he, that will not wish to dye?
And he whom God by Death doth soonest call,
Is in my minde the happiest wight of all.

When Simeon had embraced in his armes,
His Lord, whom he had waited long to see,
He of his Sauiour instantly desir'd
Luke 2.29.
A nunc dimittis, that he might be free
From bitter bondage of vnpleasant life,
Where flesh and Spirit alwayes are at strife.

By their Contraries things may best be seene,
Iet makes the Ivorie most white appeare,
'Tis darknesse which doth manifest the light,
And sicknesse makes vs value health most deare.
Lifes miserie doth best make knowne the gaine,
And freedome, which by Death we doe obtaine.

Consider then the euils of this life,
Whose pleasures are as honie mixt with gall,
Or bankes of flowers, which couer lurking snakes,
Snares to intrap, and blocks whereat some fall.
What wise-man then of them will reck'ning make,
Or with to liue for fading pleasures sake?

It were some motiue to induce delight,
In liuing long, if life would certaine last,
But Infancie and Childhood scarce are seene,
Before that both of them are ouerpast.
Inventus sodeinly doth flie away,
Adoloscency makes but little stay.

Virilitie doth not continue long,
Old age is short and hastens to an end,
Our longest life and pleasure is but briefe,
Thus tedious griefes on euery age attend.
Which like to sable clouds eclips our sunne,
And makes our glasse of life with sorrow run.

Consider man in his abridged time,
What pricking perill he therein doth beare;
Youth is incumbred with vntimely harmes,
Continuall care doth Middle-age out-weare.
Old-age is testie, subiect vnto griefe,
Diseases steale vpon it as a theefe.

The bodie is in danger (every part)
Of hurt, disease, and losse of sense, and lym,
Auditus vnto deafenesse subiect is,
Visus of blindnesse, or of being dym,
Gustus of fauours, bitter, tart and sowre,
Olfactus vnto loathsome stinks each houre.

Tactus is subiect to benummednesse,
Our goods to spoyle by theeues, or sodeyne fire,
Good name is lyable to false reports,
Invectiue obtrectations, fruites of ire;
Our kindred and acquaintance subiect are
To like mishap, which falleth to our share.

Our soule in danger is of vice and errour,
Our bodie subiect to imprisonment,
To hurt by beasts, as horses and the like,
Or else to spoyle by creatures virulent;
Which with their stings doe giue vntimely wound,
Or else to squatts and bruises on the ground.

Those dewes, which Sol attracteth from the earth,
Proue most pernicious when they doe descend,
To number all the evills of this life,
May haue beginning, but can finde no end.
For new enormities, new plagues procure,
'Tis iuft to scourge, where loue cannot allure.

What course, or trade of life, is free from griefe?
Or what condition voyd of all annoy?
To liue in office, trouble is our lot,
To liue at home is vncouth without ioy:
To worke in field is toylesome, full of paine,
At sea are feares, in traffique little gaine.

In iourney ieopardie doth vs attend,
In marriage griefe and care oppresse the minde,
The single life is solitarie, vaine;
The rich can little ioy in riches finde;
For hauing much, his care must watch his wealth,
From secret pilfring, and from open stealth.

If pouerty be our appointed lot,
Our griefe is great, reliefe and comfort small,
We must endure oppression, suffer wrong,
The weake in wrestling goeth to the wall:
If we be bit, we cannot bite againe,
If rich men strike, we must their blow sustaine.

If we eminent in place of note,
Then stand we as a marke for enuies dart,
Coniecture censures our defect of worth,
Inquirie doth anatomize each part,
And if our reputation be but small,
Contempt and scorne doth vs and ours befall.

The infant from the wombe into the world
Comes crying, by the which it doth presage
The paines, and perils, it must vndergoe,
In childe-hood, man-hood, and decreped age,
He that most knowes this life, least doth it loue,
Except affliction may affection moue.

Mans life on earth is like a Ship at Sea,
Tost on the waues of troubles to and fro,
Assayl'd by pirates, crost by blustring windes,
Where rockes of ruine menace ouerthrow.
Where stormes molest, and hunger pincheth sore,
Where Death doth lurke at euery Cabbin dore.

Yet some afflictions in this irkesome life,
God doth in mercie to his Children send,
Thereby to weane them from the loue of that,
Which is buy noysome, and will soone haue end.
That so their liking may be set aboue,
Vpon those pleasures which shall neuer moue.

Col. 3.2.

Phil. 1.23.

Iob 6.8.9.

Which made the Chosen vessell of the Lord,
That he might be with Christ, desire to die,
And Iob to wish his dayes were at an end,
Because his life was [nought] but miserie.
The godly man is tyred with his breath,
And findes no rest, till he be free by Death.

What then is life that it should be desir'd?
Or what aduantage by it doth man winne?
Is not this world a net to snare the soule?
Doe not long liuers multiplie their sinne?
Is not this life a mappe of miserie,
The quite contrarie of tranquilitie.

For though the seeming pleasures of this life
Doe cause vs loue it, yet the paines may moue
Vs to contemne the bait, which hides the hooke,
And rather loath, then either like or loue,
A path of Ice, where footing is vnsure,
Or bitter pills though guilded to allure.

But some (who liue as Dives did) may say,
That life is sweet, and comfort doth afford,
That there are few whom sicknesse doth arrest,
But with most earnestly to be restor'd.
That Hezekiah wept when he heard tell,
That God would haue him bid the world farewell.

As also David to the Lord did say,
Let my soule liue, that it may praise thee still;
And Christ did pray, his Cup might from him passe,
If so it were his holy Fathers will:
But Hezekiah wept, because that yet
He had no issue on his throne to sit.

I. King 10.3.

Psal 119.175.
Luke 22.42.

Gal. 3.13.

Mat. 26.41.

Dan. 5.6.

And Dauids wish from reason did proceed;
For he was then perplexed with his foe,
Who would with exultation have affirm'd,
That God in wrath had wrought his ouerthrow.
And of Christs prayer this was the reason why,
Because he was a cursed Death to die.

When godly men doe dread the sight of Death,
Their fearefulnesse it is but natures errour,
The Spirit's readie, but the flesh is weake,
Assisting grace will mitigate their terror.
Yet some mens feare doth issue from mistrust,
That they shall neuer shine among the iust.

The conscience of whole life in sinne mis-led,
At sight of Death doth make them trembling stand,
And like Belshatsar change their wonted lookes,
Because that their destruction is at hand.
For when that God o're them giues Death full power,
Graue takes their bodies, hell their soules deuoure.

They know that sinne deserues eternall Death;
And therefore feare when they depart from hence,
And that their Lampe of life is quite extinct,
Their pleasures shall conclude, and paines commence.
The worme of Conscience gnawes so in their brest,
As makes their terrour not to be exprest.

And then (too late) with Balam they desire,
Num. 23.10.
(When they perceiue their latter end draw nie)
That they the righteous may assimilate
In their departure, and like them may die.
But holy life is that portendeth blisse,
He that liues well can neuer die amisse.

That man which liues a sanctifyed life,
Yet doth not die with outward peace and rest,
Through conflicts had with Sathan and his lusts;
Iudge not amisse of him, whom God hath blest.
In leading by the gate of hell to ioy,
Where he shall be exempt from all annoy.

For sometimes 'tis the lot of wicked men,
Which in impietie their life haue led,
To outward view to leaue this world in peace,
Without so much as strugling on their bed.
The Death of Nabal who so noteth well,
Shall finde that many passe like stones to hell.

Death is the messenger of weale and woe,
Like Ioseph, which foretold of dignitie,
I. Sam. 25.37.

Gen. 40.13.19.

That Pharaoh on his Butler would bestow,
But to the Baker fatall miserie,
He did predict should sodeinly ensue,
Which, as he said, did quickly fall out true.

Vnto the faithfull, Death doth tydings bring
Of life, of fauour, and eternall rest,
How they from out the prison of this world,
In which with griefes they haue beene sore opprest,
Shall be receiu'd through Christs eternall loue
To liue for euer with their God aboue.

For though that Death considered in it selfe
Be fearefull, and doth many terrors bring,
Yet vnto them there is no cause of dread;
For by Christs Death grim Mors hath lost it sting.
That as a toothlesse Snake no hurt can doe,
No more can Death procure the godly woe.

The sting of Death the Scripture sayth is sinne,
Christs powerfull Death hath tooke Deaths power away,
That by the merit of his Conquering word;
To Death and Hell we may with boldnesse say,
Death where's thy sting, Hell where's thy victorie?
I. Cor. 15.56.

Hosea 13[.]14.

I. Cor. 15.55.

In Christ we liue maugre thy tyrannie.

The godly onely comfort finde in Death,
They view the end, and not regard the way,
And with the eye of faith they see, that God
Intends more good to them, then earth can pay:
And though to die they dare not supplicate,
Yet for their dissolution they doe waite.

So that if Death arrest them vnawares,
Yet can it not them vnprepared finde,
And if with respite they depart this world,
Their wel-led-life doth consolate their minde,
And makes them welcome Death with ioy of heart;
'Tis happie newes that they from life must part.

But to the wicked Death brings word of Death;
For why to them it hath not lost it sting;
It is but the exordium of their woes,
And as a Goalor doth from Prison bring
Their guiltie soules, to suffer for their sinne
Those paines which end not, though they doe begin.

Within them terror doth affright their mindes,
Aboue them they the face of iustice see,
Beneath them horrour doth affront their sight,
About them vgly Deuils readie bee,
With watchfull eyes, most willing without grudge,
To execute the pleasure of the Iudge.

Death takes them as it findes them, and forthwith
It doth present them, as it doth them take,
Vnto the Lord, who censures their deserts,
As they are found, when they appearance make.
And as they are adiudged, so they must,
For euer vnder-goe their sentence iust.

Mortalitie is Gods exact decree,
Which as the deluge of his kindled ire,
Hath ouerwhelmed with a dying life
Decaying man, whose state doth still require,
And pregnantly induce to thinke on Death,
Ere it obstruct the passage of his breath.

Psal. 89.48.
Deut. 31.14.
Three motiues mouing man to meditate
On Death, ere Death, I briefely will declare;
First the Necessitie that men must die,
By which they are forewarned to prepare,
Against that time, when they must goe from hence,
This strict Oportet will with none dispence.

Those daily obiects man doth speculate,
Present vnto his thought, that he must die;
For all things in this world declare and shew,
That man is subiect to Mortalitie;
Those vegetiues, which bud and spring out most,
Doth Hyems kill, and cut away with frost.

The elements must be dissolu'd with heate,
The Macrocosmus needs must die,
Both young and old must goe to Golgotha.
Faire buildings leuell with the ground must lye,
And strongest Citties come to nullitie.

The Medes and Persians did their lawes confirme
So strongly, that they could not altred bee,
And this appointment all men once must die,
Is as infallible, as their decree.
I. Pet. 3.10.

Luke 21.33.

Dan. 6.15.

Heb. 9.27.

2. Sam. 14.14.

Heb. 13.14.

Iob 7.6.

We needs must die, to pay what God doth lend,
Life had beginning, and must haue an end.

From earth man came, to dust he must returne,
This is the descant of Deaths fatall dittie,
All men are mortall, therefore must they die,
And Paul sayth, Here is no abiding Cittie.
Mans dayes consume like wax against the Sunne,
And as a Weauers shittle swiftly runne.

That thing, which may bee, may be doubted off,
And as a thing vncertaine passe neglected;
But things that must be, greater heed require,
And of necessitie must be, greater heed require,
And of necessitie must be expected.
Then thinke on Death, ere Death, for truth doth show,
That Death must come, but when we may not know.

The second motiue moouing thought of Death,
Is the impartialitie of it,
Respecting neither persons, age, or sexe,
By bribes sinister it doth none acquit;
Friends nor intreaties can no whit preuaile,
Where Death arrests it will admit no Bayle.

What is become of Absolom the faire?
David the Victor, Salomon the wise?
Cressus the worldly rich, Dives the wretch?
Sampson the strong, that was bereft of eyes?
From these, and more then these, with whetted knife,
Death hath cut off the siluer thread of life.

It is hereditarie vnto all,
Lazarus dead, Dives must also die,
Passe from his downe-bed to his bed of dust,
And vntill doomes day in earths bowels lye.
Luke 16.10. 

2. King 9.24.

1. King 2.2.

Gen. 5.5.

Death scatters that, which life had carking got,
And casts on youthfull yeares old ages lot.

Like Iehues shaft it spares not Iorams heart,
But makes Kings subiect to it awelesse power.
Dauid must yeeld to tread the beaten path,
When Death with open mouth meanes to deuoure.
And hauing changed corps to dust, who then
Can well distinguish Kings from other men?

The greatest Monarch of earths Monarchie,
Whom God with worldly honours highly blest,
Deaths Beesome from this life hath swept away,
Their stories Epilogue is Mortuus est.
For Death to all men dissolution brings,
Yea, the Catastrophe it is of Kings.

Great Alexander Conquer'd many Lands,
And sauage Creatures he bereft of breath;
But in the Records of his famous acts,
It is not writ, that he did Conquer Death.
The stoutest souldiour fitted for the field,
Maugre his might to Death his life must yeeld.

Methushelah, one of the longest liuers,
Could not escape the peircing dart of Death,
But when the sand out of his glasse was runne,
Mors stopt the passage of his vitall breath.
Death from the stately throne to graue deiects,
No more the Prince then Peasant it respects.

It doth dissolue the knot by friendship knit,
From Dauid it takes Ionathan away,
And Children of their Parents it bereaues,
Parents their Children must not haue for aye.
Without respect of any or remorce,
It workes the husband's, and his wifes diuorce.

'Tis so impartiall, that it spareth none,
But doth surprize the rich as well as poore,
It was not Tullies learned eloquence,
That could perswade Death to passe by his dore.
Nor is it wealth or prowesse that can tame,
Deaths vigour, for it sends men whence they came.

The third and last is the uncertaintie
Gen. 3.19.

Ier. 8.7.

Of Deaths approach, as when or at what time,
It will arrest vs, whether in old age,
Or our Virilitie and youthfull prime.
The which must cause continuall thought of Death,
That vnawares it may not stop our breath.

Time turnes the heavens in a certaine course,
The Storke and Crane appoynted seasons know,
The starres their constant motions doe obserue,
Tides haue their times to ebbe and ouer-flow.
Mans fickle state doth onely rest vnsure
Of certaine course, and season to endure.

The Tenant thinkes vpon that date of time,
Which will his lease of house or land expire;
But of the end of punctum of this life,
Whereof we haue no lease, who doth inquire?
We in this life are Tenants but at will,
God onely knowes the time we must fulfill.

The Preter time, which is alreadie past,
Was ours, but neuer will be so againe;
The Future time perhaps shall not be ours,
To make account thereof is therefore vaine;
The instant time which present we inioy
Is onely ours to mannage and imploy.

I make no doubt but many men would mourne,
If they exactly knew their finall day
Should be within a yeare of present time,
Yet now with mirth they passes their time away;
When as perhaps they shall not liue one houre,
Nay in a moment, Death may them deuoure.

Some tender Infants in their Cradle die,
Like blooming blossomes blowne from off the tree;
3. Sam. 12.18.
Dauids young sonne must die, it is decreed,
That length of dayes he shall not liue to see.
Thus greedie Death plucks buds from off the tree,
When fruits mature grow and vngath'red bee.

There is no man on earth that can foretell,
Where Death, or in what place will vs select,
Abroad, at home, in cittie, or the field,
It is Vncertaine, that we may expect
Deaths comming alwayes, and in euery place,
To make compleate the currant of our race.

The manner of Deaths comming, How 'twill be,
God hath conceal'd to make vs vigilant.
Some die by sicknesse, others by mishap,
Some die with surfeit, other some with want:
Some die by fire, some perish by the Sword,
Some drown'd in Water swim vnto the Lord.

Pope Adrian was stifeled with a Gnatt,
Old Anacreon strangled with a Grape,
A little hayre did choake great Fabius,
Saphira could not sodeine Death escape.
Into this life we all but one way came,
But diuers wayes we goe out of the same.

If God from perill did not vs protect,
Our daily food might stop our vitall breath,
The things we neither doubt, nor feare, may proue
The instruments of an vntimely Death.
And in a moment worke our liues decay,
When we least thinke vpon our ending day.

'Tis God omniscient which doth onely know
The time of life, that man on earth must liue,
At his appoyntment Moses must goe die,
Deut. 32.50.
Who bounds and limmit vnto time doth giue:
Man happen may to aske Where, When, and How,
Death will surprize, but God sayth Thus, here, now.

Of lifes decay man information hath,
From certaine monitors, which Vsher Death;
The first whereof proclaimes th' vncertaintie
Of time determin'd for mans vse of breath.
The second doth discouer miserie.
The third inevitable certaintie.

The first of these is sodeine casualtie,
Which doth suggest that Death may doubtfull be,
The second sicknesse, which with irksome groanes
Declares, that Death may grieuous be to thee.
Thirdly old-age this rule doth verifie,
Young men may faile, but aged men must die.

It therefore is most requisite for those,
That wish to be vpright in iudgement found,
Not by their workes, but for their Sauiours meed,
To thinke they alwayes heare the last trump sound,
That they their soules in readinesse may make:
For when Death comes 'twill no excuses take.

Iehovah by his Vtinam doth shew
His great desire, that men should have respect
To vnderstand and thinke vpon their end,
Deut. 32.29.

Eccl. 11.3.

Which want of wisedome causeth them neglect.
For surely where the Lord doth knowledge giue,
Men liue and learne to die, and die to liue.

To entertaine a Legate from a King
In costly manner, many will prepare;
Yet Death that comes from him, that's King of Kings,
Welcome to bid, there are but few that care;
But as the tree doth fall, so shall it lye,
And men must rise to Iudgement as they die.

That thing, which at all seasons may be done,
Wheneuer done, is not done out of season;
A daily expectation of that guest,
Which any time may come proceeds from reason.
Ierusalem her latter end forgot,
And therefore desolation was her lot.

Invading Mors without remorse deuoures,
And if we be not arm'd ere it assault,
We shall be foyled ere we can be arm'd;
If we be taken tardie 'tis our fault.
For sith 'tis certaine, Mors will surely strike,
We must expect Deaths poyson-pointed pyke.

That vnawares we may not be surpriz'd,
But readie to receiue that fatall blowe,
Which cannot be resisted when it comes,
No more then force of flouds which ouerflow.
Premeditation is the best defence
Against this foe, which will with none dispence.

For from continuall thought of Deaths assault,
Doe sundry speciall benefits arise,
Carelesse securitie it first preuents,
Wherewith our ghostly foe doth blind our eyes;
And by the which he makes vs quite forget,
That there's a Centre in our Circle set.

By thought of Death (in second place) we gaine
Acquaintance, with our foe afore our fight,
Expected dangers loose their greatest force.
Pauls dying daily put false feare to flight.
Those faces, which at first haue vgly hew,
Grow into liking through their often view.

Thirdly by thought of Death, ere life decay,
We shall contemne this world and hold it vaine,
Into the which we nothing brought at first,
Nor from it can we carrie ought againe.
I. Cor. 15.31.

I. Tim. 6.7.

Gen. 8.9.

Psal. 42.1.

Heb. 21.9.

As also know whil'st on this Sea we floate,
We are but strangers, from our home remote.

The Doue, which Noah sent from forth the Arke,
Could finde no rest, till shee return'd againe;
Nor can the faithfull, till they goe to Christ,
True rest and quiet without griefe obtaine:
Heauen is the hauen of the faithfull wight,
Christ's loue the obiect of their soules delight.

The soule of Dauid panted after God,
And thirsted oft his presence to obtaine;
The father of the faithfull liu'd in tents,
And stranger-like in Canaan did remaine.
That he might no where settle his abode,
But in the Cittie of the liuing God.

Fourthly, premeditation of our Death,
Doth cause us crucifie our sinfull lust,
And by the spirit mortifie the flesh,
That soule may liue when bodie turnes to dust;
And makes vs know that costly roabes and meate,
Doe decke and nourish food for Wormes to eate.

Fifthly, the thought of our decease by Death,
Doth moue vs seriously to waigh in minde,
How that our first materiall was but earth;
Gal. 5.24.

Iob. 7.7.

Iob. 9.26.

I. Pet. 1.24.

That life is short, vnconstant as the Winde:
Like mist and dew, which Sunne doth driue away,
Or swift as Eagles hasting to the pray.

Man is in sacred Writ compar'd to grasse,
Which flourishing today sends forth it flowre,
With'ring at night, is cast into the fire,
Of short persistance, like an Aprill showre.
For who so now perceiues the Sunne to shine,
His life is done before that it decline.

Our dayes consume and passe away like smoake,
Like Bauens blaze soone kindled, soone extinct,
Or like a Ship which swiftly slides the Sea,
Vncertaine, fickle, irkesome, and succinct.
Recite I all the fading types I can,
Yet none so momenta[r]ie as is man.

Vnto a shadow Iob doth life compare,
Which when the bodie moues, doth vanish quite,
To vanitie, and likewise to a dreame,
Psal. 101.3.

Iob. 9.26.

Iob. 8.9.

Psal. 39.5.

Psal. 90.10

Whereof we haue an hundred in one night.
Dauid's resembling life vnto a span,
Doth shew the short continuance of man.

If happinesse consist in length of dayes,
An Oke more happie then a man appeares;
So doth the Elephant, and sturdie Stagge,
Which commonly doe liue two hundred yeares;
But mortall man, as Moses doth vnfould,
If he liue fourescore yeares is counted old.

When Xerxes with ten hundred thousand men
Attempted warre, His eyes did showre forth teares;
To thinke, not one of those, whom he imploy'd,
Should be aliue within one hundred yeares.
For Adams heyres ingaged doe remaine
To pay, what he receiu'd, and lost againe.

The day wherein we first behold the light,
Begins our Death, for life doth daily fade,
Our day of Death begins our happie life,
We are in danger, till our debt is paid.
Life is but lent, we owe it to the Lord,
When 'tis demanded, it must be restor'd.

A false imagination of long life
Made Diues sing a requiem to his soule,
Luke 12.19.
Inlarge his Barnes, disport, and make good cheare,
Till iuft Iehovah did his thoughts controwle.
Who calls him foole,and quells his fond delight,
By threat'ning iudgement to befall that night.

Sixthly, the thought of Deaths most sure approach,
Doth moue contrition for our preter sinne,
And workes restraint of present ill desires,
Inspiring constant purpose to begin,
A faithfull life by Gods assisting grace,
That to his glory we may runne our race.

Lastly, premeditation of our Death,
Induceth vs to commendable care,
For setling and disposing our estate
To those, whom we intend shall haue a share,
That when we are departed from this life,
Our goods may proue no coales to kindle strife.

When Hezekiah Iudahs King was sicke,
And at the entrie of Deaths dore did lye,
The Prophet Esay came to him, and sayd,
1. Esay 38.1.
Put thou thy house in order, thou must die;
Which paradigma plainely doth ingraue
That 'tis a dutie God himselfe doth craue.

Neglect of which disturbs vs at our end,
When we should be exempt from worldly care,
When doubt of who shall reape what we haue sowne
Distracts our thoughts, and doth our peace impaire;
Withdrawing our affections from aboue,
Where we and no where els should fixe our loue.

Vnto that place prepar'd for Gods elect
Afore the world, the Lord conduct vs still,
And grant that we the measure of our dayes,
To his good pleasure may on earth fulfill;
That when wee to our period doe attaine,
We may with Christ in glory euer raigne.


Lord Iesus come quickly.

F I N I S.

Faults escaped in Printing.

P Age 10. line 16. for perceiuing read pearcing.
Page 18, line 26. for attended read atteined.
Page 23. line 15. for naught, read nought.

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