Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
Epitaph: ‘He whom Heaven did call away’
Anonymous
 
HE whom Heaven did call away
Out of this hermitage of clay,
Has left some reliques in this urn
As a pledge of his return.
Meanwhile the Muses do deplore        5
The loss of this their paramour;
With whom he sported ere the day
Budded forth its tender ray.
And now Apollo leaves his lays,
An put on cypress for his bays;        10
The sacred Sisters tune their quills
Only to the blubbering rills,
And while his doom they think upon,
Make their own tears their Helicon;
Leaving the two-topt mount divine        15
To turn votaries to his shrine.
  Think not, reader, me less blest,
Sleeping in this narrow chest,
Than if my ashes did lie hid
Under some stately pyramid.        20
If a rich tomb makes happy, then
That bee was happier far than men,
Who, busy in the thymy wood,
Was fettered by the golden flood,
Which from the amber-weeping tree        25
Distilleth down so plenteously;
For so this little wanton elf
Most gloriously enshrined itself;
A tomb whose beauty might compare
With Cleopatra’s sepulchre.        30
In this little bed my dust
Incurtained round I here intrust;
While my more pure and nobler part
Lies entomb’d in every heart.
Then pass on gently, ye that mourn,        35
Touch not this mine hallowed urn;
These ashes which do here remain
A vital tincture still retain;
A seminal form within the deeps
Of this little chaos sleeps        40
The thread of life untwisted is
Into its first consistencies;
Infant nature cradled here
In its principles appear;
This plant thus calcined into dust        45
In its ashes rest it must,
Until sweet Psyche shall inspire
A softening and prolific fire,
And in her fostering arms enfold
This heavy and this earthly mould.        50
Then as I am I’ll be no more,
But bloom and blossom as before,
When this cold numbness shall retreat
By a more than chymick heat.
 
 
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