An Elegy Upon my Best Friend L. K. C.
- Editor’s Note1Should we our Sorrows in this Method range,
- 2Oft as Misfortune doth their Subjects change,
- 3And to the sev'rall Losses, which befall,
- 4Pay diff'rent Rites at ev'ry Funeral;
- pg 1345Like narrow Springs drain'd by dispersed Streams,
- 6We must want Tears to wail such various Themes,
- 7And prove defective in Death's mournfull Laws,
- 8Not having Words proportion'd to each Cause.
- 9 In your Dear loss my much afflicted Sense
- 10Discerns this Truth by sad experience,
- 11Who never Look'd my Verses should survive,
- 12As wet Records, That you are not Alive;
- 13And less desir'd to make that Promise due,
- 14Which pass'd from Me in jest, when urg'd by You.
- Critical Apparatus15 How close and slily doth our Frailty work!
- 16How undiscover'd in the Body lurk!
- 17That Those who this Day did salute you well,
- 18Before the Next were frighted by your Knell.
- 19O wherefore since we must in Order rise,
- 20Should wee not Fall in equal Obsequies?
- 21But bear th'Assaults of an uneven Fate,
- 22Like Feavers which their Hour anticipate;
- Editor’s Note23Had this Rule constant been, my long wish'd End
- 24Might render you a Mourner for your Friend:
- 25As He for you, whose most deplor'd surprise
- 26Imprints your Death on all my Faculties;
- 27That hardly my dark Phant'sie or Discourse
- 28This final Duty from the Pen inforce:
- 29 Such Influence hath your Eclipsed Light,
- 30It doth my Reason like my Self benight.
- 31 Let me, with Luckless Gamesters, then think best
- Editor’s Note32(After I have Set up and Lost my Rest)
- 33Grow'n desp'rate through mischance, to Venture last
- 34My whole remaining Stock upon a Cast,
- Editor’s Note35And flinging from me my now Loathed Pen,
- 36Resolve for your Sake nev'r to Write agen:
- 37For whilst Successive days their Light renew,
- 38I must no Subject hope to Equal you,
- 39In whose Heroick Brest as in their Sphear,
- Critical Apparatus40All Graces of your Sex concentred were.
- pg 13541 Thus take I my long Farewell of that Art,
- 42Fit only glorious Actions to impart;
- Critical Apparatus43That Art wherewith our Crosses we beguile,
- 44And make them in Harmonious numbers smile:
- 45Since you are gone, This holds no further use,
- 46Whose Virtue and Desert inspir'd my Muse.
- 47O may She in your Ashes Buried be,
- 48Whilst I my Self become the Elegie.
- 49 And as it is observ'd when Princes Dye,
- 50(In honour of that sad Solemnity)
- 51The now unoffic'd Servants crack their Staves,
- 52And throw them down into their Masters' Graves:
- 53So this last Office of my broken Verse,
- 54I solemnly resign upon your Hearse;
- 55And my Brain's moisture, all that is unspent,
- 56Shall melt to nothing at the Monument.
- 57Thus in moist Weather when the Marble weeps,
- 58You'l think it only his Tears reck'ning keeps,
- 59Who doth for ever to his Thoughts bequeath
- 60The Legacy of your lamented Death.
1–8 This was the eighteenth poem of its kind that King had written.
15–18 omitted H
23 long wish'd End: cf. 'An Exequy' (1624), loc. cit.
32–33 **Rest)… mischance##, 1664:**Rest, … mischance)##H.
35 And flinging from mee my, now loathed Pen H: Dr. Simpson drew attention to this 'delicate example of seventeenth-century punctuation', Bodleian Quarterly Record, v, 1926–9, p. 326.
40 your] the H
43 Crosses] Sorrowes H.