An Elegie. Princesse Katherine Borne, Christened, Buried, In One Day

You, that can haply mixe your joyes with cries,
And weave white Ios with black Elegies,
Can caroll out a dirge, and in one breath
Sing to the tune either of life, or death;
You, that can weepe the gladnesse of the spheres,
And pen a hymne, in stead of inke, with teares;
Here, here your unproportion'd wit let fall,
To celebrate this new-borne funerall,
And greete that little greatnesse, which from th' wombe
Dropt both a load to th' cradle and the tombe.

  Bright soule! teach us, to warble with what feet
Thy swathing linnen and thy winding sheet,
Weepe, or shout forth that fonts solemnitie,
Which at once christn'd and buried thee,
And change our shriller passions with that sound,
First told thee into th' ayre, then to the ground.

  Ah, wert thou borne for this? only to call
The King and Queen guests to your buriall!
To bid good night, your day not yet begun,
And shew a setting, ere a rising sun!

  Or wouldst thou have thy life a martyrdom?
Dye in the act of thy religion,
Fit, excellently, innocently good,
First sealing it with water, then thy blood?
As when on blazing wings a blest man sores,
And having past to God through fiery dores,
Straight 's roab'd with flames, when the same element,
Which was his shame, proves now his ornament;
Oh, how he hast'ned death, burn't to be fryed,
Kill'd twice with each delay, till deified.
So swift hath been thy race, so full of flight,
Like him condemn'd, ev'n aged with a night,
Cutting all lets with clouds, as if th' hadst been
Like angels plum'd, and borne a Cherubin.

  Or, in your journey towards heav'n, say,
Tooke you the world a little in your way?
Saw'st and dislik'st its vaine pompe, then didst flye
Up for eternall glories to the skye?
Like a religious ambitious one,
Aspiredst for the everlasting crowne?

  Ah! holy traytour to your brother prince,
Rob'd of his birth-right and preheminence!
Could you ascend yon' chaire of state e're him,
And snatch from th' heire the starry diadem?
Making your honours now as much uneven,
As gods on earth are lesse then saints in heav'n.

  Triumph! sing triumphs, then!  Oh, put on all
Your richest lookes, drest for this festivall!
Thoughts full of ravisht reverence, with eyes
So fixt, as when a saint we canonize;
Clap wings with Seraphins before the throne
At this eternall coronation,
And teach your soules new mirth, such as may be
Worthy this birth-day to divinity.

  But ah! these blast your feasts, the jubilies
We send you up are sad, as were our cries,
And of true joy we can expresse no more
Thus crown'd, then when we buried thee before.

  Princesse in heav'n, forgivenes! whilst we
Resigne our office to the HIERARCHY.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:26 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 2,588
Words 472
Stanzas 9
Stanza Lengths 10, 6, 4, 14, 6, 6, 8, 4, 2

Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace was an English poet more…

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