1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Chapman

B. L. O., "An Epicede or Funerall Song" British Bibliographer 4 (1814) 36-37.



An Epicede or Funerall Song: on the most disastrous Death, of the high-borne Prince of Men, Henry Prince of Wales, &c. With the Funeralls, and Representation of the Herse of the same high and mighty Prince; Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornewaile and Rothsay, Count Palatine of Chester, Earle of Carick, and late Knight of the most Noble Order of the Garter. Which Noble Prince deceased at St. James, the sixt day of November, 1612, and was most Princely interred the seventh day of December following, within the Abbey of Westeminster, in the Eighteenth yeere of his Age. London: Printed by T. S. for John Budge, and are to be sould at his shop at the great south dore of Paules, and at Brittanes Bursse. 1612.

Quarto, containing in all fifty two pages, not numbered, the page preceding the title to the poem, and the account of the funeral (which is separate,) black, with crest, initials, and motto on a small white ground, and a large plate of Henry on his tomb, with arms, H. P. etc. and four Latin lines by Hugh Holland, and four in English by George Chapman, at the base.

The poem which follows the account of the Prince's funeral is dedicated by Chapman, the author, to his "affectionate, and true friend, Mr. Henry Jones."

We transcribe his account of the prince's last moments.

And now did Phoebus with his Twelfth Lampe show
The world his haples light: and in his Brow
A Torch of Pitch stuck, lighting halfe t' half skies,
When lifes last error prest the broken eyes
Of this heart-breaking Prince; his forc't look fled;
Fled was all Colour from his cheekes; yet fed
His spirit, his sight: with dying now, he cast
On his kind King, and Father: on whome, fast
He fixt his fading beames: and with his view
A little did their empty Orbs renew:
His Mind saw him, come from the deeps of Death,
To whome he said, O Author of my Breath:
Soule to my life, and essence to my Soule,
Why grieve you so, that should al griefe controule?
Death's sweet to me, that you are stil lifes creature,
I now have finisht the great worke of Nature.
I see you pay a perfect Fathers debt
And in a feastfull Peace your Empire kept;
If your true Sonnes last words have any right
In your most righteous Bosome, doe not fright
Your hearkning kingdoms to your cariage now;
All yours, in mee, I here resigne to you,
My youth (I pray to God with my last powres)
Substract from me may adde to you and yours.
Thus vanisht he, thus swift, thus instantly;
Ah now I see, even heavenly powres must dye.

The following lines are not deficient in strength or beauty.

On on sad Traine, as from a crannid rocke
Bee-swarmes rob'd of their honey, ceasles flock.
Mourne, mourne, dissected now his cold lims lie
Ah, knit so late with flame, and Majestie.
Where's now his gracious smile, his sparkling eie
His Judgement, Valour, Magnanimitie?
O God, what doth not one short hour snatch up
Of all mans glosse? — etc.

The volume concludes with three epitaphs not worthy of preservation. B. L. O.