Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
A Funeral Elogie on the Death of the Lady Penelope Clifton
LXV. Francis Beaumont
SINCE 1 thou art dead (Clifton), the world may see
A certain end of flesh and bloud in thee;
Till then a way was left for man to cry,
Flesh may be made so pure it cannot dye:
But now, thy unexpected death doth strike        5
With griefe the better and the worse alike;
The good are sad they are not with you there,
The bad have found they must not tarry here.
Death, I confesse, ’tis just in thee to try
Thy power on us, for thou thyself must dye.        10
Thou pay’st but wages, Death, yet I would know
What strange delight thou tak’st to pay them so;
When thou com’st face to face, thou strik’st us mute,
And all our liberty is to dispute
With thee behinde thy back, which I will use.        15
If thou had’st brav’ry in thee, thou wouldst chuse
(Since thou art absolute, and canst controule
All things beneath a reasonable soule,)
Some look-for way of killing: if her day
Had ended in a fire, a sword, or sea,        20
Or hadst thou come hid in a hundred yeares
To make an end of all her hopes and feares,
Or any other way direct to thee
Which Nature might esteeme an enemy,
Who would have chid thee? Now it shews thy hand        25
Desires to cosin where it might command:
Thou art not prone to kill, but where th’ intent
Of those that suffer is their nourishment;
If thou canst steal into a dish and creep,
When all is still as though into a sleep,        30
And cover thy dry body with a draught
Whereby some innocent lady may be caught,
And cheated of her life, then thou wilt come
And stretch thyself upon her early tombe,
And laugh, as pleas’d to shew thou canst devoure        35
Mortality as well by wit as power.
I would thou hadst had eyes, or not a dart,
That yet, at least, the cloathing of that heart
Thou strook’st so spightfully might have appear’d
To thee, and with reverence have been fear’d:        40
But since thou art so blind, receive from me
Who ’twas as on whom thou wrought’st this tragedy.
She was a lady who for publique fame
Never (since she in thy protection came,
Who sett’st all living tongues at large,) receiv’d        45
A blemish: with her beauty she deceiv’d
No man when taken with it; they agree
’Twas Nature’s fault, when from ’em ’twas in thee
As ever any did; yet hath thy hate
Made her as little better in her state        50
As ever it did any being here,
Shee liv’d with us as if she had been there.
Such ladies thou canst kill no more; but so
I give thee warning here to kill no moe:
For if thou dost, my pen shall make the rest        55
Of those that live, especially the best,
Whom thou most thirstest for, t’ abandon all
Those fruitlesse things, which thou wouldst have us call
Preservatives, keeping their diet so,
As the long-living poore, their neighbours, do:        60
Then shall we have them long, and they at last
Shall passe from thee to hear, but not so fast.
Note 1. LXV. Francis Beaumont.—This author, the celebrated associate in literature with Fletcher, was born in 1586, and died in 1615. His miscellaneous poems, published after his death, contain but little suitable to the present collection: yet there are a few pieces which entitle his name to a place among sacred poets; and the Editor has selected the “Funeral Elogie on the Death of the Lady Penelope Clifton,” as the least known of all his sacred pieces. The volume from which it is derived is entitled “The Hermaphrodite, The Remedy of Love, Elegies, Sonnets, with other Poems.” [back]

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