1633 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Donne

Endymion Porter, "Epitaph upon Dr. Donne" Donne, Poems (1633) 404-05.



This decent Urne a sad inscription weares,
Of Donnes departure from us, to the spheares;
And the dumbe stone with silence seemes to tell
The changes of this life, wherein is well
Exprest, A cause to make all joy to cease,
And never let our sorrowes more take ease;
For now it is impossible to finde
One fraught with vertues, to inrich a minde;
But why should death, with a promiscuous hand
At one rude stroke impoverish a land?
Thou strict Attorney, unto stricter Fate,
Didst thou confiscate his life out of hate
To his rare Parts? Or didst thou throw thy dart,
With envious hand, at some Plebeyan heart;
And he with pious vertue stept betweene
To save that stroke, and so was kill'd betweene
By thee? O 'twas his goodnesse so to doe,
Which humane kindnesse never reacht unto.
Thus the hard lawes of death were satisfi'd,
And he left us like Orphan friends, and di'de.
Now from the Pulpit to the peoples eares,
Whose speech shall send repentant sighes, and teares?
Or tell mee, if a purer Virgin die,
Who shall hereafter write her Elegie?
Poets be silent, let your numbers sleepe,
For he is gone that did all phansie keepe,
Time hath no Soule, but his exalted verse
Which with amazements, we may now reherse.