AN ELEGY ON THE LA : PEN :|
SENT TO MY MISTRESS OUT OF FRANCE.
|LET him, who from his tyrant mistress did
This day receive his cruel doom, forbid
His eyes to weep that loss, and let him here
Open those flood-gates to bedew this bier ;
So shall those drops, which else would be but brine,
Be turn'd to manna, falling on her shrine.
Let him who, banish'd far from her dear sight,
Whom his soul loves, doth in that absence write
Or lines of passion or some powerful charms,
To vent his own grief or unlock her arms,
Take off his pen, and in sad verse bemoan
This general sorrow, and forget his own.
So may those verses live, which else must die ;
For though the Muses give eternity
When they embalm with verse, yet she could give
Life unto that Muse by which others live.
O, pardon me, fair soul, that boldly have
Dropp'd though but one tear on thy silent grave,
And writ on that earth, which such honour had,
To clothe that flesh wherein thyself was clad.
And pardon me, sweet saint, whom I adore,
That I this tribute pay out of the store
Of lines and tears that's only due to thee.
Oh, do not think it new idolatry ;
Though you are only sovereign of this land,
Yet universal losses may command
A subsidy from every private eye,
And press each pen to write ; so
And feed the common grief. If this excuse
Prevail not, take these tears to your own use,
As shed for you : for when I saw
I then did think on your mortality.
For since nor virtue, will, nor beauty, could
Preserve from Death's hand this their heavenly mould,
Where they were framed all, and where they dwelt,
I then knew you must die too, and did melt
Into these tears ; but, thinking
on that day,
And when the gods resolved to take away
A saint from us, I that did know what dearth
There was of such good souls upon the earth,
Began to fear lest Death, their officer,
Might have mistook and taken thee for her :
So had'st thou robb'd us of that happiness
Which she in heaven and I in thee possess.
But what can heaven to her glory add ?
The praisesshe hath dead, living she had ;
To say she's now an angel is no more
Praise than she had, for she was one before.
Which of the saints can show more votaries
Than she had here ? Even those that did despise
The angels, and may her, now she is one,
Did, whilst she lived, with pure devotion
Adore and worship her : her virtues
All honour here, for this world was too bad
To hate or envy her ; these cannot
So high as to repine at deities :
But now she's 'mongst her fellow-saints, they may
Be good enough to envy her : this
There's loss i' th' change 'twixt heaven and earth, if she
Should leave her servants here below to be
Hated of her competitors above.
But sure her matchless goodness needs must move
Those blest souls to admire her excellence ;
By this means only can her journey hence
To heaven prove gain, if, as she was but here
Worshipp'd by men, she be by angels there.
But I must weep no more over this urn,
My tears to their own channel must return ;
And having ended these sad obsequies,
My Muse must back to her old exercise,
To tell the story of my martyrdom.
But oh, thou idol of my soul, become
Once pitiful, that she may change her style,
Dry up her blubber'd eyes, and learn to smile.
Rest then, blest soul ! for,
as ghosts fly away
When the shrill cock proclaims the infant day,
So must I hence, for lo ! I see from far
The minions of the Muses coming are,
Each of them bringing to thy sacred hearse
In either eye a tear, each hand a verse.
Vincent, Arthur, ed. The Poems of Thomas Carew.
London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., nd. 26-28.
|| to Works of Thomas Carew|
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