Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AN ELEGY UPON THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF PRINCE HENRY, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Read, you that have some tears left yet unspent
Last Line: Which best sort with the sorrows we sustain.
Subject(s): Henry, Prince Of Wales (1584-1612); Mourning; Bereavement

READ, you that have some tears left yet unspent,
Now weep yourselves heart-sick, and ne'er repent:
For I will open to your free access
The sanctuary of all heaviness,
Where men their fill may mourn, and never sin:
And I their humble Priest thus first begin.
Fly from the skies, ye blessed beams of light!
Rise up in horrid vapours, ugly night,
And fettered bring that ravenous monster Fate,
The felon and the traitor to our state!
Law-eloquence we need not to convince
His guilt; all know it, 'tis he stole our Prince,
The Prince of men, the Prince of all that bore
Ever that princely name: O now no more
Shall his perfections, like the sunbeams, dare
The purblind world! in heav'n those glories are.
What could the greatest artist, Nature, add
T' increase his graces? divine form he had,
Striving in all his parts which should surpass;
And like a well-tuned chime his carriage was
Full of celestial witchcraft, winning all
To admiration and love personal.
His lance appeared to the beholders' eyes,
When his fair hand advanced it to the skies,
Larger than truth, for well could he it wield,
And make it promise honour in the field.
When Court and Music called him, off fell arms
And as he had been shaped for love's alarms,
In harmony he spake, and trod the ground
In more proportion than the measured sound.
How fit for peace was he, and rosy beds!
How fit to stand in troops of iron heads,
When time had with his circles made complete
His charmed rounds! All things in time grow great.
This fear, even like a comet that hangs high,
And shoots his threat'ning flashes through the sky,
Held all the eyes of Christendom intent
Upon his youthful hopes, casting th' event
Of what was in his power, not in his will:
For that was close concealed, and must lie still,
As deeply hid as that design which late
With the French Lion died. O earthly state,
How doth thy greatness in a moment fall,
And feasts in highest pomp turn funeral!
But our young Henry armed with all the arts
That suit with Empire, and the gain of hearts,
Bearing before him fortune, power, and love,
Appeared first in perfection, fit to move
Fixt admiration: though his years were green
Their fruit was yet mature: his care had been
Surveying India, and implanting there
The knowledge of that God which he did fear:
And ev'n now, though he breathless lies, his sails
Are struggling with the winds, for our avails
T' explore a passage hid from human tract,
Will fame him in the enterprise or fact.
O Spirit full of hope, why art thou fled
From deeds of honour? why's that virtue dead
Which dwelt so well in thee? a bower more sweet,
If Paradise were found, it could not meet.
Curst then be Fate that stole our blessing so,
And had for us now nothing left but woe,
Had not th' All-seeing Providence yet kept
Another joy safe, that in silence slept:
And that same Royal workman, who could frame
A Prince so worthy of immortal fame,
Lives; and long may he live, to form the other
His expressed image, and grace of his brother,
To whose eternal peace we offer now
Gifts which he loved, and fed; musics that flow
Out of a sour and melancholic vein,
Which best sort with the sorrows we sustain.

Discover our poem explanations - click here!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net