Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN ELEGY UPON THE LORD HASTINGS, by CHARLES COTTON



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AN ELEGY UPON THE LORD HASTINGS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Amongst the mourners that attend his hearse
Last Line: Would longer live, that could but now die so?
Subject(s): Hastings, Henry. Earl Of Huntington


AMONGST the Mourners that attend his hearse
With flowing eyes, and with each tear a verse,
T' embalm his fame, and his dear merit save
Uninjur'd from th' oblivion of the Grave;
A Sacrificer I am come to be,
Of this poor off'ring to his Memory.
O could our pious meditations thrive
So well, to keep his better part alive!
So that, instead of him, we could but find
Those fair examples of his letter'd mind:
Virtuous emulation then might be
Our hopes of good men, though not such as he.
But in his hopeful progress since he's crost,
Pale Virtue droops, now her best pattern's lost.
'Twas hard, neither divine, nor human parts,
The strength of Goodness, Learning, and of Arts,
Full crowds of Friends, nor all the pray'rs of them,
Nor that he was the pillar of his stem,
Affection's mark, secure of all men's hate,
Could rescue him from the sad stroke of Fate.
Why was not th' air drest in prodigious forms,
To groan in thunder, and to weep in storms?
And, as at some men's fall, why did not his
In Nature work a metamorphosis?
No: he was gentle, and his soul was sent
A silent victim to the Firmament.
Weep, Ladies, weep, lament great Hastings' fall;
His house is buried in his funeral:
Bathe him in tears, till there appear no trace
Of those sad blushes in his lovely face:
Let there be in 't of guilt no seeming sense,
Nor other colour than of Innocence.
For he was wise and good, though he was young;
Well suited to the stock from whence he sprung:
And what in Youth is ignorance and vice,
In him prov'd piety of an excellent price.
Farewell, dear Lord, and since thy body must
In time return to its first matter, dust;
Rest in thy melancholy tomb in peace: for who
Would longer live, that could but now die so?





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