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The Departure. AN ELEGY.

Henry King 1592 (Worminghall, Buckinghamshire) – 1669 (Chichester)

VVere I to leave no more then a good friend,
Or but to hear the summons to my end,
(Which I have long'd for) I could then with ease
Attire my grief in words, and so appease
That passion in my bosom, which outgrowes
The language of strict verse or largest prose.
But here I am quite lost; writing to you
All that I pen or think, is forc't and new.
My faculties run cross, and prove as weak
T'indite this melancholly task, as speak:
Indeed all words are vaine well might I spare
This rendring of my tortur'd thoughts in ayre,
Or sighing paper. My infectious grief
Strikes inward, and affords me no relief.
But still a deeper wound, to lose a sight
More lov'd then health, and dearer then the light.
But all of us were not at the same time
Brought forth, nor are we billited in one clime.
Nature hath pitch't mankind at several rates,
Making our places diverse as our fates.
Unto that universal law I bow,
Though with unwilling knee; and do allow
Her cruell justice, which dispos'd us so
That we must counter to our wishes go.
'Twas part of mans first curse, which order'd well
We should not alway with our likings dwell.
'Tis onely the Triumphant Church where we
Shall in unsever'd Neighbourhood agree.
Go then best soul, and where You must appear
Restore the Day to that dull Hemisphear.
Nere may the hapless Night You leave behind
Darken the comforts of Your purer mind.
May all the blessings Wishes can invent
Enrich your dayes, and crown them with content.
And though You travel down into the West,
May Your lifes Sun stand fixed in the East,
Far from the weeping set; nor may my ear
Take in that killing whisper, You once were.
Thus kiss I your fair hands, taking my leave
As Prisoners at the Bar their doom receive.
All joyes go with You: let sweet peace attend
You on the way, and wait Your journeys end.
But let Your discontents, and sowrer fate
Remain with me, born off in my Retrait.
Might all your crosses in that sheet of lead
Which folds my heavy heart lie buried:
'Tis the last service I would do You, and the best
My wishes ever meant, or tongue profest.
Once more I take my leave. And once for all,
Our parting shews so like a funerall,
It strikes my soul, which hath most right to be
Chief Mourner at this sad solemnitie.
And think not, Dearest, 'cause this parting knell
Is rung in verses, that at Your farewell
I onely mourn in Poetry and Ink:
No, my Pens melancholy Plommets sink
So low, they dive where th' hid affections sit,
Blotting that Paper where my mirth was writ.
Believ't that sorrow truest is which lies
Deep in the breast, not floating in the eies:
And he with saddest circumstance doth part,
Who seals his farewell with a bleeding heart.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:32 min read

Henry King

Henry King was an English poet who served as Bishop of Chichester. more…

All Henry King poems | Henry King Books

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