1656 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Drummond

John Spotswood, "To W. D." Drummond, Poems (1656) sig. A7-A7v.



Some will not leave that Trust to Friend, nor Heire,
But their own winding-Sheet themselves prepare;
Fearing, perhaps some courser Cloath might shroud
The wormes descended from their noble Bloud:
And shalt not thou (that justlier maist suspect
Far courser stuffe, in such a dull neglect
Of all the Arts, and dearth of Poetry)
Compose before hand thine own Elegy?
Who but thy selfe is capable to write
A Verse, or, if they can, to fashion it
Unto thy Praises? None can draw a Line
Of thy perfections, but a hand divine.
If thou wilt needs impose this Task on us,
(A greater Work than best Wits can discusse)
We will but only so far Embleme Thee,
As in a circle, men, the Deity.
A wreath of Bayes we'll lay upon thy Herse;
For that shall speake Thee better than our Verse:
That art in number of those Things, whose end,
Nor whose beginning we can comprehend.
A Star, which did the other Day appeare,
T'enlighten up our dark'ned Hemispheare:
Nor can we tell nor how, nor whence it came,
Yet feele the heat of thy admired flame.
'Twas thou that thaw'd our North, 'twas thou didst cleare
The eternall mists which had beset us here,
Till by thy golden Beames and powerfull Ray
Thou chas'd hence Darknesse, and brought out the Day.
But as the Sun, though he bestow all Light
On us, yet hinders by the same our sight
To gaze on him; So thou, though thou dispence
Far more on us by thy bright influence,
Yet such is thy transcendent brightnesse, we
Thereby are dazled, and cannot reach thee;
Then art thou less'ned, should we bound thy Praise
T' our narrow dull conceit, which cannot raise
Themselves beyond a vulgar Theame, nor flye
A pitch like unto thine in Poesie;
Yet (as the greatest Kings have sometimes dain'd
The smallest Presents from a poore mans hand;
When pure devotion gave them) it may be
Your Genius will accept a mite from me:
It speaks my Love, although it reach not you;
And you are praised, when I would so do.