1616 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Thomas Overbury

D. T., "Upon the untimely Death of Sir Thomas Overburie" Sir Thomas Overburie, His Wife, with New Elegies (1616) sig. ¶4-¶4v.



'Twould ease our Sorrowes, 'twould release our Teares,
Could we but heare those high celestiall Spheares,
Once tune their Motions to a dolefull straine
In sympathie of what we Mortalls plaine.
Or see their faire Intelligences change
Or face or habit, when blacke Deeds, so strange,
As might force pittie from the heart of Hell
Are hatch'd by Monsters, which among us dwell;
The Starres me thinks, like Men inclin'd to sleepe,
Should through their chrystall casements scarcely peepe,
Or at least view us but with halfe an eye,
For feare their chaster Influence might descry
Some murdering hand, loaded in guiltless bloud,
Blending vile juices to destroy the good.
The Sunne should wed his Beames to endles Night,
And in dull darknesse canopie his Light,
When from the ranke stewes of adulterous Brests,
Where every base unhallowed Project rests,
Is belcht, as in defiance of his shine,
A steame, might make even Death it selfe to pine.
But these things happen still; but ne're more cleare,
Nor with more lustre did these Lampes appeare:
Mercurie capers with a winged heele,
As if he did no touch of sorrow feele,
And yet he sees a true Mercurian killd,
Whose birth his Mansion with much honour filld.
But let me not mistake those Powers above,
Nor taxe injuriously those Courts of Jove;
Surely, they joy to see these Acts reveald,
Which in blinde silence have bin long conceald;
And Virtue now triumphant; whil'st we mourne
To thinke that ere shee was foule Vices scorne:
Or that poore Over-buries bloud was made
A sacrifice to Malice and darke shade.
Weston thy Hand that Couvre-feu Bell did sway,
Which did his life to endles sleepe convay,
But rest thou where thou art; Ile seek no glorie
By the relation of so sad a storie.
If any more were privie to the Deed,
And for the Crime must be adjudg'd to bleed,
To Heaven I pray, with heav'd-up Hands and Eyes,
That as their Bodies fall, their Soules may rise.
And as these equally turne to one Dust,
So these alike may shine among the Just.
And there make up one glorious constellation,
Who suffred here in such a differing fashion.