Elegy over a Tomb
by Edward Herbert, Lord Chirbury

MUST I then see, alas ! eternal night
        Sitting upon those fairest eyes,
And closing all those beams, which once did rise
        So radiant and bright,
That light and heat in them to us did prove
        Knowledge and Love ?

Oh, if you did delight no more to stay
        Upon this low and earthly stage,
But rather chose an endless heritage,
        Tell us at least, we pray,
Where all the beauties that those ashes ow'd
        Are now bestow'd ?

Doth the Sun now his light with yours renew ?
        Have Waves the curling of your hair ?
Did you restore unto the Sky and Air,
        The red, and white, and blew ?
Have you vouchsaf'd to flowers since your death
        That sweetest breath ?

Had not Heav'ns Lights else in their houses slept,
        Or to some private life retir'd ?
Must not the Sky and Air have else conspir'd,
        And in their Regions wept ?
Must not each flower else the earth could breed
        Have been a weed ?

But thus enrich'd may we not yield some cause
        Why they themselves lament no more ?
That must have chang'd the course they held before,
        And broke their proper Laws,
Had not your beauties giv'n this second birth
        To Heaven and Earth ?

Tell us, for Oracles must still ascend,
        For those that crave them at your tomb :
Tell us, where are those beauties now become,
        And what they now intend :
Tell us, alas, that cannot tell our grief,
        Or hope relief.

The Oxford Book of Seventeenth Century Verse.
H. J. C. Grierson and G. Bullough, eds.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934. 227-228.

to Lord Herbert

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