A. M. Gibbs (ed.), Sir William Davenant: The Shorter Poems, and Songs from the Plays and Masques

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An Elegy on the Duke ofBuckingham's Death

  • 1No Poetts triviall rage, that must aspire
  • 2And heighten all his hymnes by inforced fire,
  • 3Shall his loud dirges mix with my sad Quire.
  • 4Such sell their teares, like Inke, for sordid hire;
  • 5And he that husbands greife, that his dull sight
  • 6And moysture spends not on thy funerall Night
  • 7T'augment the Balmy store (when onely good
  • 8And glorious eyes shall melt into a floud)
  • 9Doth want the noble Touch; he mournes by Art,
  • 10His Breast conteynes a pebble, not a heart.
  • 11Buckingham, oh my Lord; so may I find
  • 12With strict endeavor of my sight, the wind
  • 13That viewlesse poasts about the world, as thy
  • 14Great soule, now wandring through the purple skye.
  • 15I am no Chronicler, nor can impart
  • 16Unto the world with smooth and oyly Art
  • pg 27317Thee and thy worth; but yet, ere fames hott Breath
  • 18Be mixed with cooler Ayre that spoke thy death,
  • 19I will pronounce what thou wert found in war;
  • 20Heare then from forth thy Mansion in yond star
  • 21A soldyer sing, whose numbers flow and rise
  • 22As if he Bathd his Temples with his eyes,
  • 23And not in mighty wine: Oh happy those
  • 24Whose humble sorrowes reach but at loose Prose.
  • 25In deeds that apperteynd to lofty war
  • 26Not the lofty Memnon, when he withstood
  • 27Priams tall Sons, expressd such potent rage,
  • 28His heate nor violence could tame, nor Age.
  • 29Yet, when sought with low phrayse, the gentle wind
  • 30That cooles the Lipps of Queenes was not so kind:
  • 31His Breath would then, like spices in their smoake,
  • 32Perfume the Neyghbour Ayre, till it did choake
  • 33Your greedy sence, then leave you rapp'd, to prove
  • 34Which was more strong, his Anger or his Love.
  • 35Luxurious Sleepe, and surfeits that have made
  • 36This Nation tame, and spoyld our glorious Trade,
  • 37Loud Iron war, he did dismisse the Court,
  • 38And taught our Churlish youth the noble sport.
  • 39The soft and whispering Lute he straight strooke dumbe
  • 40With noyse, and made them daunce unto the drum.
  • 41He lovd to walke in powder, in blew mists,
  • 42Where some, for wealthy Braceletts, on their wrists
  • 43Did weare Chayne shott; their danger taught him more
  • 44Then all the flatterd Worthyes knew before.
  • 45But oh you harsh false stars, when he was fitt
  • 46For active discipline, you did permitt
  • 47A leaprous hand to touch his heart, and so
  • 48Increasd your lighte, but darkened us below.
  • 49While warme Idolaters, that onely bowe
  • 50To their fraile mettall, and th'industrious plough,
  • 51Picke from the Art a subtle providence
  • 52Which since their wealth guards from their heyres expense.
  • 53Their Poets drinke Towne Breath, t'infuse some Qualme
  • 54That may Convert the story to a Psalme.
  • 55Now rare Divinity, If the precize
  • 56Doe relish murther as a Sacrifice,
  • pg 27457Dull easy fayth and Ignorance no more
  • 58Shall flatter crooked Bondage as before,
  • 59Predominance shall cease, the sons of men
  • 60Shall now enioy Equality agen;
  • 61For ruminate, oh trivyall fooles, If high
  • 62Heroicke Princes are constreynd to dye
  • 63By oblique force, while your Religion too
  • 64Applauds their fate, what will become of you?
  • 65Sleepe, sleepe my Lord, and while the Scythians boast
  • 66In bloud, doe thou permitt no prattling ghost
  • 67To tell thee, in the smooth Elysian playne,
  • 68Beneath some pleasant hedge, their rash disdayne.
  • 69And when the last, the fatall day shall doome
  • 70The world, thou needst not creepe into thy Tombe
  • 71Nor wrap thy person in a sulphurous Cloud,
  • 72Or strive to hide thee in th'unwieldy Croud
  • 73Of pale Sinners; for those that know desert
  • 74Did rather chide thy Titles then thy heart.
  • 75But where are all thy plumed Troupes, those high
  • 76Cedars, that tooke their growth but in thy eye?
  • 77Where are thy flatterers, that did torment
  • 78Their active Lungs t'endeavor a Consent
  • 79And Eccho to thy speech? are they all fled?
  • 80Are there none left alive to sooth thee dead?
  • 81Oh fond Ambition, that can nere survive
  • 82The warmth of flesh, and servd but while alive,
  • 83Whom supple knees adore for secret ends:
  • 84Greatnesse finds many flatterers, but few frends.
  • 85Thy dutchesse spends the Treasure of her Eyes
  • 86In hope some Northerne blast will straight surprize
  • 87The teares, which if congeald, thy earthly part
  • 88Is then entombd in Pearle; yet know, my Art
  • 89Out climbes that reach; she may advance thy herse,
  • 90But fame shall sing thy story in my Verse.
  • 91Let a dull soldyer greet thee with a groane;
  • 92I heard thy death, and clappd my Corslett on,
  • 93For a distracted rage did so enflame
  • 94My powerfull Bloud, wonder so shake my frame,
  • 95That, but the Iron sheete did fast combine
  • 96My flesh, my Ribbs had started from my Chyne.

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Critical Apparatus
An Elegy &c. B.M. Add. MS. 33, 998
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