Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Epitaph on the Countess Dowager of Pembroke
By William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645) or Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
 
UNDERNEATH 1 this sable hearse
Lies the subject of all verse,
Sidney’s sister, Pembroke’s mother:
Death, ere thou hast slain another,
Fair, and learn’d, and good as she,        5
Time shall throw a dart at thee.
 
Marble piles let no man raise
To her name: in after days,
Some kind woman born as she,
Reading this, like Niobe        10
Shall turn marble, and become
Both her mourner and her tomb.
 
Note 1. This epitaph on the Countess of Pembroke—“Sidney’s sister, Pembroke’s mother”—was first printed in Osburne’s Traditional Memoirs of the Reign of King James, 1658. It also appears in a MS. of the middle seventeenth century, in Trinity College, Dublin, where it is subscribed “William Browne;” Jonson’s claim to the poem is due to Whalley’s supposition, and because it has generally been included amongst Jonson’s poems by his editors. [back]
 
 
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