« PreviousContinue »
MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESTER.
This rich marble doth inter
The honour'd wife of Winchester,
A Viscount's daughter, an Earl's heir,
Besides what her virtues fair
Added to her noble birth,
More than she could own from earth.
Summers three times eight save one
She had told; alas ! too soon,
After so short time of breath,
To house with darkness, and with death.
Yet had the number of her days
Been as complete as was her praise,
Nature and Fate had had no strife
In giving limit to her life.
Her high birth, and her graces sweet,
Quickly found a lover meet ;
The virgin quire for her request
The God that sits at marriage feast;
He at their invoking came,
But with a scarce well-lighted flame;
And in his garland, as he stood,
Ye might discern a cypress bud.
Once had the early matrons run
To greet her of a lovely son,
And now with second hope she goes, ,
And calls Lucina to her throes ;
But, whether by mischance or blame,
Atropos for Lucina came;
And with remorseless cruelty
Spoild at once both fruit and tree:
The hapless babe, before his birth,
Had burial, yet not laid in earth;
And the languish'd mother's womb
Was not long a living tomb.
So have I seen some tender slip,
Sav’d with care from winter's nip,
The pride of her carnation train,
Pluck'd up by some unheedy swain,
Who only thought to crop the flower
New shot up from vernal shower ;
But the fair blossom hangs the head
Side-ways, as on a dying bed,
And those pearls of dew, she wears,
Prove to be presaging tears,
Which the sad morn had let fall
On her hastening funeral.
Gentle Lady, may thy grave Peace and quiet ever have; After this thy travel sore Sweet rest seize thee evermore, That, to give the world encrease, Shorten'd hast thy own life's lease. Here, besides the sorrowing That thy noble house doth bring, Here be tears of perfect moan Wept for thee in Helicon; And some flowers, and some bays, For thy herse, to strew the ways, Sent thee from the banks of Came, Devoted to thy virtuous name; Whilst thou, bright Saint, high sitst in glory, Next her, much like to thee in story, That fair Syrian shepherdess, Who, after years of barrenness, The highly favour'd Joseph bore To him that sery'd for her before, And at her next birth, much like thee, Through pangs fled to felicity, Far within the bosom bright Of blazing Majesty and Light : There with thee, new weleome Saint, Like fortunes may her soul acquaint, With thee there clad in radiant sheen, No Marchioness, but now a Queen.
Now the bright Morning-star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire ;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill, and dale, doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.