Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XXVI. Melancholy
From ‘On the death of William Hervey’
By Abraham Cowley (1618–1667)
[See full text.]

MY sweet companion and my gentle peer,
Why hast thou left me thus unkindly here,
Thy end for ever and my life to moan?
    O, thou hast left me all alone!
Thy soul and body, when death’s agony        5
    Besieged around thy noble heart,
    Did not with more reluctance part
Than I, my dearest Friend, do part from thee.
My dearest Friend, would I had died for thee!
Life and this world henceforth will tedious be:        10
Nor shall I know hereafter what to do
    If once my griefs prove tedious too.
Silent and sad I walk about all day,
    As sullen ghosts stalk speechless by
    Where their hid treasures lie;        15
Alas! my treasure’s gone; why do I stay?…
Large was his soul: as large a soul as e’er
Submitted to inform a body here;
High as the place ’twas shortly in Heaven to have,
    But low and humble as his grave.        20
So high that all the virtues there did come,
    As to their chiefest seat
    Conspicuous and great;
So low, that for me too it made a room….
With as much zeal, devotion, piety,        25
He always lived, as other saints do die.
Still with his soul severe account he kept,
    Weeping all debts out ere he slept.
Then down in peace and innocence he lay,
    Like the Sun’s laborious light,        30
    Which still in water sets at night,
Unsullied with his journey of the day….

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