Katherine Philips

Epitaph: On Hector Philips. At St. Sith's Church

What on earth deserves our trust ?
Youth and beauty both are dust.
Long we gathering are with pain,
What one moment calls again.
Seven years childless, marriage past,
A son, a son is born at last;
So exactly limbed and fair,
Full of good spirits, mien, and air,
As a long life promised;
Yet, in less than six weeks, dead.
Too promising, too great a mind
In so small room to be confined:
Therefore, fit in Heaven to dwell,
Quickly broke the prison shell.
So the subtle alchemist,
Can't with Hermes' seal resist
The powerful spirit's subtler flight,
But 'twill bid him long good night.
So the sun, if it arise
Half so glorious as his eyes,
Like this Infant, takes a shroud,
Buried in a morning cloud.

[AJ Notes:
Hector Philips, her firstborn, who died six weeks from birth.
    Katherine Philips later had a daughter, Katherine, who survived her.
St. Sith's Church, which burned down in the Great Fire, and was never rebuilt.]

Early Modern Women's Writing.
Paul Salzman, Ed.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. 270.

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