1638 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Randolph

Robert Randolph, "To the Memory of his deare Brother Mr. Tho. Randolph" Randolph, Poems (1638) sig. *2-*3v.



In such a solemne traine of freinds that sing
Thy Dirge in pious lines, and sadly bring
Religious Anthemes to attend thy Hearse,
Striving t' embalme thy precious name in verse:
I, that should most, have no more power to raise
Trophies to thee, or bring one graine of praise
To crowne thy Altar, then the Orbes dispence
Motion without their sole Intelligence.
For I confesse that power which workes in mee
Is but a weake resultance tooke from thee;
And if some scatter'd seeds of heate divine
Flame in my brest, they are deriv'd from thine:
And these low sickly numbers must be such,
As when steel moves, the Loadstone gives the touch.
So like a spungy cloud that sucks up raine
From the fat soile to send it back againe;
There may be now from me some language showne
To urge thy merit, but 'twas first thy owne:
For though the Doners influence be past
For new effects, the old impressions last;
As in a bleeding trunk we oft descry
Leaps in the head, and rowlings in the eye,
By vertue of some spirits, that alone
Doe tune those Organs though the soule be gone.
But since I adde unto this generall noise
Only weake sounds, and Echoes of thy voice;
Be this a taske for deeper mouthes, while I
That cannot bribe the Phansy, thaw the eye:
And on that Grave where they advance thy praise
Doe plant a sprigge of Cypresse not of Bayes.

Yet flow these teares ·not that thy Reliques sit
Fix'd to their cell a constant Anchorit:
Nor am I stirr'd that thy pale ashes have
O're the darke Climate of a private Grave
No faire inscription: such distempers flow
From poore lay-thoughts, whose blindnesse cannot know
That to discerning Spirits the Grave can be
But a large wombe to Immortality:
And a faire vertuous name can stand alone
Brasse to the Tombe, and marble to the Stone.

No, 'tis that Ghostly progeny we mourne,
Which carelesse you let fall into the Urne:
We had not flow'd with such a lavish tide
Of teares and greife, had not those Orphans dy'd.
For what had been my losse, who reading thine,
A Brother might haue kiss'd in every line.

These that are left, Posterity must have;
Whom a strict care hath rescu'd from the Grave
To gather strength by Union; as the beames
Of the bright Sunne shot forth in severall streames,
And thinly scatter'd with lesse fervour passe,
Which cause a flame contracted in a Glasse.
These, if they cannot much advance thy fame,
May stand dumbe Statues to preserve thy name:
And like Sun-dialls to a day that's gone,
Though poore in use, can tell there was a Sunne.

Yet (if a faire confession plant no Bayes,
Nor modest truth conceiv'd a lavish praise)
I could to thy great glory tell this age
Not one invenom'd line doth swell the page
With guilty legends; but so cleare from all
That shoot malicious noise, and vomit gall,
That 'tis observ'd in every leafe of thine,
Thou hast not scatter'd snakes in any line.
Here are no remnants tortur'd into rime
To gull the reeling judgments of the time;
Nor any stale reversions patch thy writ
Gleand from the ragges and frippery of wit.
Each syllable doth here as truly runne
Thine, as the light is proper to the Sunne.
Nay in those feebler lines which thy last breath
And labouring brains snatch'd from the skirts of death
Though not so strongly pure, we may descry
The father in his last posterity,
As clearly showne, as Virgins looks doe passe
Through a thinne lawne, or shaddowes in a glasse:
And in thy setting, as the Suns, confesse,
The same large brightnesse, though the heate be lesse.
Such native sweetnesse flowes in every line,
The Reader cannot choose but sweare 'tis thine.

Though I can tell a rugged sect there is
Of some fly-wits will judge a squint on this;
And from thy easy flux of language guesse
The fancies weake, because the noise is lesse;
As if that Channell which doth smoothly glide
With even streames flow'd with a shallow tide.
But let a quick-discerning judgment looke,
And with a peircing eye untwist thy book
In every loome, I know the second veiw
Shall finde more lustre then the first could doe.
For have you seene when gazing on the skies
With strict survey a new succession rise
Of severall starres, which doe not so appeare
To every formall glance that shootes up there:
So when the serious eye has firmly been
Fix'd on the page, such large increase is seen
Of various fancy, that each severall veiw
Makes the same fruitfull book a Mart of new.

But I forbeare this mention; since I must
Ransack thy ashes, and revile thy dust
With such low characters, I mean to raise
Thee to my contemplation, not my praise:
And they that wish thy Picture clearly showne
In a true Glasse, I wish would use thy owne:
Where I presume how e're thy vertues come
Ill shap'd abroad, th' art fairly drest at home.
RO. RANDOLPH. M.A. Student of C. Church.