Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES, LORD HERBERT, by WILLIAM BROWNE (1591-1643)



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ON THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES, LORD HERBERT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If there be a tear unshed
Last Line: Have shut for thee—dear lord—good night.
Alternate Author Name(s): Browne, William Of Tavistock
Subject(s): Herbert, Charles (d. 1635)


IF there be a tear unshed
On friend, or child, or parent dead,
Bestow it here; for this sad stone
Is capable of such alone.
Custom showers swell not our deeps,
Such as those his marble weeps;
Only they bewail his herse,
Who unskill'd in powerful verse,
To bemoan him slight their eyes,
And let them fall for elegies.

All that sweetness, all that youth
All that virtue, all that truth
Can or speak, or wish, or praise,
Was in him in his few days.
His blood of Herbert, Sidney, Vere,
Names great in either hemisphere,
Need not to lend him of their fame:
He had enough to make a name;
And to their glories he had come,
Had Heaven but given a later tomb.
But the Fates his thread did spin
Of a sleave so fine and thin
Minding still a piece of wonder,
It untimely broke in sunder;
And we of their labours meet
Nothing but a winding-sheet.
What his mighty prince hath lost:
What his father's hope and cost:
What his sister, what his kin,
Take too all the kingdom in:
'Tis a sea wherein to swim,
Weary faint, and die with him.
O let my private grief have room,
Dear Lord, to wait upon thy tomb;
And since my weak and saddest verse
Was worthy thought thy grandam's herse,
Accept of this! Just tears my sight
Have shut for thee—dear Lord—good night.





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