1651 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Cartwright

Thomas Vaughan, "On the Death of Mr. William Cartwright" Cartwright, Comedies, Tragi-Comedies, with other Poems (1651) sig. **4-**5.



So! we are now beyond the spleen of Fate,
Our miseries have made us fortunate:
The Grave was Physick, here; Death speaks us free,
Her malice now is spent as well as we;
Nay, now our ruin doth so much displease,
That to strike more is to her a disease.
None can deserve her Envy, her Contempt
Exceeds her former anger, she hath spent
No Arrows but on pretious lives, and we
Are but the leavings of her tyranny:
Such, whom when she hath taken from the Prease
Cannot requite the Expence of a disease.
He fell a nobler ruine; we that live
Owe our short lives, but to a base Reprieve.
He, when as yet in death he was not lost,
Made Fate suspect her Jurisdiction crost,
'Cause Learning knew no destiny; 'twas He
Whose Studies bordered on Eternity.
Our Speculations were too poor to have
With thee the equall glory of a Grave,
And share a fair mortality that we
Might be thought wise, because we fell with Thee.
Death had thee hence, lest thy large Phansy might
In time take Wing, and with a saving flight
Rove Thee beyond the World into a State
Too high, and so outrun the reach of Fate.
Thou wert so richly good, so great, that we
The Church in Thee ev'n at one view might see;
Saints that so long possess'd the quiet Earth,
And slept out Centuries, were at thy Birth
Regenerate, they liv'd again in thee,
And did out do their former Piety:
And as their Souls contracted in thine own
Did thus forestall the Resurrection,
So in thy Death they met a second Fate,
Nature in Thee did recapitulate.
So fraught wert thou with Learning, that we can
Stile Thee almost a breathing Vatican,
A Library not fram'd of stone and wood,
But animate and Cemented with bloud:
All Arts so suffer'd in thy Fall, that We
May call thy Grave an University,
And look our Schooles out there, as if that now
Eternall BODLEY did descend below
To gratifie thy Dust. O! that we might
Install thee Lecturer again, and right
The injur'd Metaphysicks like to be
Eclipsed with their own obscurity
Robb'd of thy Light: and yet they are content
To mourn the ruine of their Ornament.
When He did read, how did we flock to hear?
Sure some Professors became pupils there:
He would refine Abstractions, it was He
That gave the Text all its authority;
As if the Stagyrite resign'd his Pen,
And took his Censure, not his Comment then:
And though with some the Science goes for pelf,
His Lectures made it to transcend it self:
He us'd the Creatures as a Scale to storm
The spirituall World, and though 'twas torn,
And broken with uncertainties, yet He
By Reason as by Faith a Deity
Could apprehend and reach. Thus having trac'd
These secondary things, his soul made haste
To view the Cause, and there began to plod,
Nothing being left to puzzle him but God;
Whose Mysteries he reach'd, as far as He
Of his great self had made discovery:
He plundered not the Heavens, nor brought down
Secrets from thence, which were before unknown:
Yet some there are beleeve their Wits so ripe,
That they can draw a Map of the Arch-Type,
And with strange Opticks tutor'd they can view
The Emanations of the Mystique Jew;
In this his pious Ignorance was best,
And did excell his knowledge of the rest:
But he is gone, and Providence took him
To add to Heaven another Cherubim.
This to our Tears may minister relief,
'Tis his Preferment, that does cause our Grief.