Verse > Edmund Spenser > Complete Poetical Works
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
An Epitaph upon the Right Honourable Sir Phillip Sidney, Knight: Lord Governor of Flushing
[By Sir Walter Raleigh.]

TO praise thy life, or waile thy worthie death,
And want thy wit, thy wit high, pure, divine,
Is far beyond the powre of mortall line,
Nor any one hath worth that draweth breath.
Yet rich in zeale, though poore in learnings lore,        5
And friendly care obscurde in secret brest,
And love that envie in thy life supprest,
Thy deere life done, and death, hath doubled more.
And I, that in thy time and living state
Did onely praise thy vertues in my thought,        10
As one that seeld the rising sun hath sought,
With words and teares now waile thy timelesse fate.
Drawne was thy race aright from princely line,
Nor lesse than such, (by gifts that Nature gave,
The common mother that all creatures have,)        15
Doth vertue shew, and princely linage shine.
A king gave thee thy name; a kingly minde,
That God thee gave, who found it now too deere
For this base world, and hath resumde it neere,
To sit in skies, and sort with powers divine.        20
Kent thy birth daies, and Oxford held thy youth;
The heavens made hast, and staid nor yeers nor time;
The fruits of age grew ripe in thy first prime,
Thy will, thy words; thy words the seales of truth.
Great gifts and wisedom rare imployd thee thence,        25
To treat from kings with those more great than kings,
Such hope men had to lay the highest things
On thy wise youth, to be transported hence.
Whence to sharpe wars sweet honor did thee call,
Thy countries love, religion, and thy friends:        30
Of worthy men the marks, the lives, and ends,
And her defence, for whom we labor all.
There didst thou vanquish shame and tedious age,
Griefe, sorrow, sicknes, and base Fortunes might:
Thy rising day saw never wofull night,        35
But past with praise from of this worldly stage.
Back to the campe by thee that day was brought,
First thine owne death, and after thy long fame;
Teares to the soldiers, the proud Castilians shame;
Vertue exprest, and honor truly taught.        40
What hath he lost, that such great grace hath woon?
Yoong yeeres for endles yeeres, and hope unsure
Of Fortunes gifts for wealth that still shall dure:
Oh happie race with so great praises run!
England doth hold thy lims, that bred the same;        45
Flaunders thy valure, where it last was tried;
The campe thy sorrow, where thy bodie died;
Thy friends, thy want; the world, thy vertues fame.
Nations thy wit, our mindes lay up thy love;
Letters thy learning; thy losse, yeeres long to come;        50
In worthy harts sorrow hath made thy tombe;
Thy soule and spright enrich the heavens above.
Thy liberall hart imbalmd in gratefull teares,
Yoong sighs, sweet sighes, sage sighes, bewaile thy fall:
Envie her sting, and Spite hath left her gall;        55
Malice her selfe a mourning garment weares.
That day their Hanniball died, our Scipio fell,
Scipio, Cicero, and Petrarch of our time,
Whose vertues, wounded by my worthlesse rime,
Let angels speake, and heaven thy praises tell.        60

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