Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
Epitaph on Archbishop Whitgift
PURE 1 saints, by heaven refyn’d from earthlie drosse,
You duelye can esteeme your new increase;
But our soules’ eyes are dymme to see the loss,
Great prelate, wee sustaine by thy decease.
We never could esteeme thee as we ought,        5
Although the best of men did the best esteeme;
For hardly can you square a mortall thought,
That of so great worth worthilie can deeme.
This straight found cedar, new cut from the stemme,
As yet is scarcelie mist in Labanus:        10
This richer then the Wise King’s richest gemme,
New lost, as yet is scarselie mist of us.
But yeares to come, and our deserved want,
Proudlie foretold their bookes of eternities:
But if my Muse were like mine argument,        15
Theis lynes would outlive both their memories.
For their best maister-pieces doe contayne
But pictures of false gods, and men’s true faultes;
Whereas in my verse ever should remayne
A true saint’s praise, whose worth fills heaven’s great vaults.        20
Shyne bright in the Triumph Church, faire soule,
That in the Militant has shyn’d so longe:
Let rarest witts thy great deserts enrolle.
I can but sing thee in a mournfull songe,
  And wish that with a sea of teares my verse        25
  Could make an island of thy honour’d herse.
Note 1. LXXV. J. W. was “sometime a faithfull and loving servant, and unworthy gent. usher to the most Reverend Father in God, Doctor John Whitgift,” archbishop of Canterbury; to whom he consecrated the epitaph inserted here as a “testimonial of his ancient duty.” It is preserved in Dr. Ducarel’s “Account of the Town Church, and Archiepiscopal Palace of Croydon.” [back]

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