Poems, &c. written upon several occasions, and to several persons by Edmond Waller.
Waller, Edmund, 1606-1687.
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Vpon the Death of my Lady Rich.
MAY those already curst •ssexian plains,
Where hasty death and pining sickness reign•
Prove all a Desart, and none there make stay,
But ••v•ge Beast, or men as wilde as they.
Page 121 There the fair light which all our Island grac'd,
Like Hero's Taper in the window plac'd,
Such fate from the malignant air did find,
As that exposed to the boisterous wind.
Ah cruel Heaven • to snatch so soon away
Her, for whose life had we had time to pray,
With thousand vows and tears we should have sought
That sad decrees suspension to have wrought.
But we (alass) no whisper of her pain
Heard, till 't was sin to wish her here again.
That horrid word at once like Lightning spread,
Strook all our ears, The Lady Rich is dead.
Heart rending news, and dreadful to those few
Who her resemble, and her steps pursue.
That death should license have to rage among
The fair, the wife, the vertuous, and the young!
The Paphiam Queen from that sierce battle born,
With goared hand and veil so rudely torn,
Page 122 Like terror did among th'immortals breed,
Taught by her wound that Goddesses may bleed.
All stand amazed, but beyond the rest
Th'heroique Dame whose happy womb she blest,
Mov'd with just grief expostulates with Heaven,
Urging the promise to the obsequious given,
Of longer life; for ne'r was pious Soul
More apt t'obey, more worthy to controul.
A skilful Eye at once might read the Race
Of Caledonian Monarchs in her Face,
And sweet Humility; her look and mind,
At once were losty, and at once were kind.
There dwelt the sorn of Vice, and pity too,
For those that did what she disdain'd to do:
So gentle and severe, that what was bad
At once her hatred and her pardon had.
Gracious to all, but where her Love was due,
So fast, so Faithful, Loyal, and so True,
Page 123 That a bold hand as soon might hope to force.
The rouling lights of Heaven, as change her course.
Some happy Angel, that beholds her there,
Instruct us to record what she was here:
And when this cloud of sorrow's over-blown,
Through the wide world we'l make her graces known.
So fresh the wound is, and the grief so vast,
That all our Art and Power of speech is waste:
Here passion sways; but there the Muse shall raise
Eternal monuments of louder praise.
There our delight complying with her fame,
Shall have occasion to recite thy name,
Fair Sacharissa, and now only fair:
To sacred friendship we'l an Altar rear,
Such as the Romans did erect of old,
Where on a marble Pillar shall be told
The lovely passion each to other bare,
With the resemblance of that matchless pair,
Page 124Narcissus to the thing for which he pin'd,
Was not more like, than yours to her fair mind:
Save that you grac'd the several parts of life,
A spotless Virgin, and a faultless Wife:
Such was the sweet converse 'twixt her and you,
As that she holds with her associates now.
How false is hope, and how regardless fate,
That such a love should have so short a date!
Lately I saw her sighing, part from thee
(Alas that such the last farewel should be!)
So look 't Astraea, her remove design'd:
On those distressed friends she left behind:
Consent in Vertue knit your hearts so fast,
That still the knot, in spight of death does last:
For as your tears and sorrow-wounded soul
Prove well that on your part this bond is whole:
So all we know of what they do above,
Is, that they happy are, and that they love.
Page 125 Let dark oblivion and the hollow grave
Content themselves our frailer thoughts to have:
Well chosen Love is never taught to die,
But with our nobler part invades the Skie:
Then grieve no more, that one so Heavenly shap'd
The crooked hand of trembling age escap'd;
Rather since we beheld her not decay,
But that she vanish'd so entire away:
Her wondrous beauty and her goodness merit,
We should suppose that some propitious spirit,
In that celestial form frequented here,
And is not dead, but ceases to appear.