Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
Lachrimæ Lachrimarvm
LXXVI. Joshua Sylvester
A Funeral Elegie upon the all-lamented Death of the all-admired (late) Prince.

HOWEVER 1 short of other’s art and witt,
I knowe my powers for such a part unfitt;
And shall but light my candle in the sunne,
To doe a work shalbe so better donne:
Could teares and feares give my distractions leave        5
Of sobbing words a sable webbe to weave,—
Could sorrowe’s fulnes give my voice a vent,
How would, how should my saddest verse lament
(In deepest sighs, instead of sweetest songs,)
This losse (alas!) which unto all belongs;        10
To all the godly now, and future, farr,
To all the world (except S. P. Q. R.):
  To all together, and to each a-part,
  That liues, and loves religion, armes, or art:
  To all abroad, but to us most of all,        15
  That nearest stood to my high cedar’s fall;
  But more than most to mee, that had no prop
  But Henry’s hand, and, but in him, no hope.
    O deerest Henry, heav’n and earth’s delight!
  O cleerest beame of vertue’s rising bright!        20
  O purist spark of pious princely zeale!
  O surest ark of justice’ sacred weale!
  O grauest presage of a prudent kinde!
  O bravest message of a valliant mynde!
  O, all-admired, benign and bounteous!        25
  O all-desired (right) Panaretus!
  Panaretus (all-vertuous) was thy name,
  Thy nature such; such ever be thy fame.
Note 1. LXXVI. Joshua Sylvester was the translator of “The Divine Works of Du Bartas,” the folio edition of which first appeared in 1621. He was also the author of some poetical pieces, among which is “Lachrimæ Lachrimaron: or the Distillation of Teares shede for the vntimely Death of the incomparable Prince Panaretus,” which was published about 1614. Sylvester’s religious poetry was held in high esteem by Bishop Hall. In alluding in his Epistles to his own metrical versions from the Psalms, he observes, “Mr. J. Sylvester hath shewed me how happily he hath sometimes turned from his Bartas to the sweet singer of Israel.” Wood also says that Sylvester was an accomplished scholar. Yet the poetical talents of Sylvester were not sufficient to furnish him with sustenance. Under the pressure of poverty he went to Middleburgh, where he became “Secretary to the Company of Merchants,” and there died. [back]

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