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Call for the robin-redbreast and the wren,
Since o'er shady groves they hover
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.
Call unto his funeral dole
The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole
To rear him hillocks that shall keep him warm
And (when gay tombs are robb’d) sustain no harm;
But keep the wolf far thence, that's foe to men,
For with his nails he'll dig them up again.
JOHN WEBSTER (15 -1654).
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest !
When spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung:
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there.
William COLLINS (1721-1756).
Ah! what avails the sceptred race,
Ah! what the form divine !
What every virtue, every grace !
Rose Aylmer, all were thine.
Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes
May weep, but never see,
A night of memories and of sighs
I consecrate to thee.
Walter SAVAGE LANDOR (1775-1864).
In this marble buried lies
Beauty may enrich the skies,
And add light to Phoebus' eyes;
Sweeter than Aurora's air,
When she paints the lilies fair,
And gilds cowslips with her hair ;
Chaster than the virgin spring,
Ere her blossoms she doth bring,
Or cause Philomel to sing.
If such goodness live 'mongst men,
Tell me it: I [shall] know then
She is come from Heaven again.
She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove;
A maid whom there were none to praise,
And very few to love.
A violet by a mossy stone
Half-hidden from the eye!
- Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and O!
The difference to me!
William WORDSWORTH (1770-1850).
EPITAPH ON MRS. MARGARET PASTON.
So fair, so young, so innocent, so sweet,
So ripe a judgment and so rare a wit,
Require at least an age in one to meet.
In her they met; but long they could not stay,
'Twas gold too fine to mix without allay.
Heaven's image was in her so well express'd,
Her very sight upbraided all the rest;
Too justly ravish'd from an age like this,
Now she is gone, the world is of a piece.
John DRYDEN (1631-1701).
EPITAPH ON THE EXCELLENT COUNTESS OF
The chief perfection of both sexes joined,
With neither's vice nor vanity combined ;
Of this our age, the wonder, love, and care,
The example of the following, and despair;
Such beauty, that from all hearts love must flow,
Such majesty, that none durst tell her so;
A wisdom of so large and potent sway,
Rome's Senate might have wished, her Conclave may:
Which did to earthly thoughts so seldom bow,
Alive she scarce was less in heaven than now;
So void of the least pride, to her alone
These radiant excellencies seemed unknown;
Such once there was; but let thy grief appear,
Reader, there is not: Huntingdon lies here.
LORD FALKLAND (1576-1633).
ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS. CATHERINE THOM
SON, MY CHRISTIAN FRIEND.
When Faith and Love, which parted from thee never,
Had ripened thy just soul to dwell with God,
Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load
Of death, called life; which us from life doth sever.
Thy works and alms, and all thy good endeavour,
Stayed not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
But, as Faith pointed with her golden rod,
Followed thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Love led them on, and Faith, who knew them best,
Thy handmaids, clad them o'er with purple beams
And azure wings, that up they flew so drest,
And spake the truth of thee on glorious themes
Before the Judge; who thenceforth bid thee rest,
And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.
JOHN MILTON (1608-1674).
IF I had thought thou could'st have died,
I might not weep for thee;
But I forgot, when by thy side,
That thou could'st mortal be.
It never through my mind had passed
That time would e'er be o'er,
And I on thee should look my last,
And thou should'st smile no more !
And still upon that face I look,
And think 'twill smile again ;
And still the thought I will not brook
That I must look in vain.
But when I speak thou dost not say,
What thou ne'er left'st unsaid ;
And now I feel, as well I may,
Sweet Mary, thou art dead !
If thou would’st stay, e'en as thou art,
All cold, and all serene
I still might press thy silent heart,
And where thy smiles have been !
While e'en thy chill, bleak corse I have,
Thou seemest still mine own;