Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CLIO, NINE ECLOGUES IN HONOUR OF NINE VIRTUES: 4. WORTHY MEMORY, by WILLIAM BASSE



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CLIO, NINE ECLOGUES IN HONOUR OF NINE VIRTUES: 4. WORTHY MEMORY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Under the sorry shelter of a bryer
Last Line: In memory by her elder brother, sleepe.
Subject(s): Memory


EPITAPHIUM {EGLOGUE 4} WORTHY MEMORY

Watty. Willy

VNDER the sorry shelter of a bryer
Two mournfull shepheards sate in sad attire;
Watty, full woe for his freind dead and gone,
And Willy, that for his no lesse did moane.

Watty
O Willy! If thou canst to me declare
This ayre of life (or if it be not ayre
That life we call) then what should called be
So fickle thing, that hath no certaintie?
Or what offended hath the Destinies,
That they so most unsparingly surprize
Our freinds that we most sorrow to forgoe.
How great a strength has gastly death, that no
Humane authoritie can check his force,

Vertue, nor Beauty, moue him to remorse!
No age can dotage plead to his inquest,
Nor youth by nonage hinder his arrest;
No sex excuse, nor no excuse perswade;
No wisedome charme his sythe, nor teares his spade.
But that I see how quickly fades and dyes
All earthly pride, as flowers doe, mine eyes
Would on these flowers a drowning shower shed,
For Meredic, for Meredic, is dead.

Willy
O Wat! and so is rare Brianoled.
But know—There is no wit, no worth, nor skill,
That can withstand pale death's deserued ill.
Could mortall dayes prolonged be by Arts,
Or greedy Time sufficed with desarts;
Could mans acquain[tan]ce with the starres produce
The limits of his life, or treate a truce
With spinn[in]g Fates; could sage Philosophy
Prevaile with Death, or pleasant Poesy
Enchant his eare: I should almost with ruth
To image of old age transforme my youth
For my Brianoled that young did dye

Watty.
And so for my young Meredic should I.
For in yon Towne, that doeth with Cities sort,
Whose old foundations (as old times report)
On England's centre stand, and once the knowne
Metropolis vnto the Mercian throne,
Though now (alas!) disfigur'd with the scarres
Of Saxon tumultes, and of bloody warre[s]
With yellow Danes (that there were ouerthrowne)
Whose metamorphos'd blood to weeds is growne:
But whether that but fable be, or true,
The branch of both our garlands now is rue
For gentle Meredic, who there was sprung.

Willy
And sweet Brianoled, there nursed young

Watty
And that faire city, that as farre exceeds
Our towne as Cedars doe excell the reeds,
That famous Academ and happy Place
Belou'd of Phœbus and of Memories race,
That, fil'd with springes of more renown'd account
Then Aganippe or Libethris fount,
More rich in knowledge and deep learning flowes
Then others doe in mercenary showes,
Fill'd studious Meredic with store of arts.

Willy
And ripe Brianoled with wondrous parts.

Watty
Young Meredic, as he was freind to me,
So freinded by my greatest freind was he:
And there on Baliols and their bounty fed.

Willy
Great Maudlins streames refresh'd Brianoled.

Watty
Rare Meredic rankes early with Divines.

Willy
Rare wisdome in Brianoled so shines,
That he in Philosophique chaire doeth sit.

Watty
Sage Meredic expoundeth holy writ,
And like a Shep-heard true, the joyfull fame
Of our redemption and Redeemers name
That there he learn'd in euery place he spred.

Willy
Brianoled fed flockes where he was fed,
And where the wondrous knowledge he did reach
Of Pipe, and starres, he did as freely teach.

Watty
But as the lambe that most maturely growes,
Vnhappy slaughter sooner undergoes:

Willy
As store of fruit makes the abounding tree
To stoop, and burthens bow the bearing knee:

Watty
As ripest eares of wheate doe soonest shed,
Is Meredic in early ripenes dead.

Willy
As fairest flower's soone blasted in his prime,
Brianoled fell in his flow'ring time.

Watty
What then avayles us more to waste our eyes
(Poore Swaynes) for them that wee, 'till all men rise,
No more shall see? Teares doe but wrong such men,
Who for no wages would liue here agen.
Wee that suruiue the losse of dead sustaine,
And Death to all that vertuous are is gaine.

Willy
I neither sing nor weepe to win from clay
Fraile bodies iustly doomed to decay:
I onely striue to memorize the best
Examples, of those mindes whose bodies rest.
And though the frame of mortall flesh doe dye,
Let's giue th' immortall minde her memory
Wee cannot keepe aliue what perish will:
What Death cannot, let not our silence kill.

Watty
If guiftes, entreates, or teares of freinds might saue,
I guesse so few had euer gone to graue
That, by this time, the whole Earths ample plaine
Had wanted roome the liuing to containe.
But if we should like savadges, or worse,
Interre each dead mans vertues with his corse,
I'me sure we should impouerish then too much
The world, that cannot be too rich in such.
But since true vertue never fades away,

Willy
Nor Fame, with forme, doth euer turne to clay,

Watty
So long as Piety is reverenc'd here,

Willy
Or Poesy is pleasing to the eare;

Watty
My gentle Meredic shall liue, though dead;

Willy
Though dead, shall liue my sweet Brianoled.

Watty
As glorious rose the Sun to day, and so
Continues still, and so is like to goe,
They two, by his example, both their dayes
Begun, and led, and ended, in their praise.

Willy
Then like th' example rare of two such freinds
Let be our liues, that like may be our ends:
So both our flocks let both our dayly cares
In proofe and safety keepe, as they did theirs:
And when we rest our selues, learne Death to keepe
In memory by her elder brother, Sleepe.





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