1688 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Waller

Bevil Higgons, "On the Death of Mr. Waller" Poems to the Memory of that incomparable Poet Edmond Waller (1688) 14-16.



Ah! had thy Body lasted, as thy Name,
Secure of Life, as now thou art of Fame;
Thou had'st more Ages than old Nestor seen:
Nor had thy Phoebus more immortal been.

To thee alone we are beholden more
Than all the Poets of the Times before.
Thy Muse, inspir'd with a Genteeler Rage,
Did first refine the Genius of our Age.
In thee a clear and female softness shin'd,
With Masculine Vigour, Force, and Judgment joyn'd.
You, in soft Strains, for Courts and Ladies, sung,
So natural your Thought, so sweet your Song,
The gentle Sex did still partake your Flame,
And all the Coyness of your Mistress blame;
Still mov'd with you, did the same Passions find,
And vow'd that Sacharissa was unkind.

Oh! may the World ne're lose so brave a Flame;
May one succeed in Genius, and in Fame.
May, from thy Urn, some Phoenix, Waller, rise,
Whom the admiring World, like thee, may prize;
May he, in thy immortal Numbers, sing,
And paint the Glories of our matchless King:
Oh! may his verse of mighty Waller taste,
And mend the coming Age, as you the last.

Within that Sacred Pile where Kings do come,
Both to receive their Crowns, and find a Tomb,
There is a lonely Isle; which holy Place
The lasting Monuments of Poets grace.
Thither, amongst th' inspired Train, convey,
And, in their Company, his Ashes lay:
Let him with Spencer and great Cowley be,
He, who is much the greatest of the Three.
Though there so many Crowns and Mitres lye,
(For Kings, and Saints, as well as we, must dye)
Those venerable Walls were never blest,
Since their Foundation, with a nobler Guest.

With them, great Soul, thou shalt Immortal live,
And, in thy deathless Numbers Fate survive:
Fresh, as thy Sacharissa's Beauty, still
Thy Bays shall grow, which Time can never kill.
Far as our conqu'ring British Lyon roars,
Far as the Poles, or the remotest Shores,
Where're is known or heard the English Name,
The distant World shall hear of Waller's Fame.
Thou only shalt with Nature's self expire,
And all the World, in the sumpreamest Fire;
When Horace and fam'd Virgil dye, when all
That's Great, or Noble, shall together fall.