A POEM ON Her MAJESTIES FUNERAL.
1 THE days of Man are doom'd to Pain and Strife,
2 Quiet and Ease are Foreign to our Life;
3 No satisfaction is, below, sincere
4 Pleasure itself has something that's severe:
5 But long the fickle wayward British Isle
6 Did with false Mirth and Joy it self beguile;[Page 2]
7 To wild Excess their Frantick Humours fly,
8 While WILLIAM's flowing Fortunes bouy 'em high:
9 But a chill Damp, and Faintness seize on all,
10 By Dread MARIA's Universal Fall:
11 Their usual Luxury all Orders leave,
12 With Joint-consent to be their Selves, and Grieve.
13 From distant homes the Pitying Nations come,
14 A Mourning World t' attend her to her Tomb:
15 The Poor, Her First and Deepest Mourner's are,
16 First in Her Thoughts, and Earliest in Her care;
17 All hand in hand with common Friendly Woe,
18 In Poverty, our Native State, they go:
19 Some whom unstable Errors did engage,
20 By Luxury in Youth, to need in Age:
21 Some who had Virgin Vows for Wedlock broke,
22 And where, they help expected, found a Yoke;
23 Others who labour with the double Weight
24 Of Want, and Mem'ry of a Plenteous State;
25 There Mothers Walk wh' have oft despairing stood,
26 Pierc'd with their Infants deafning sobs for Food;
27 Then to a Dagger ran, with threat'ning Eyes
28 To stab their Bosoms, and to hush their Cries;
29 But in the thought they stopp'd, their Looks they tore,
30 Threw down the Steel, and Cruelly forbore:[Page 3]
31 The Innocents their Parent's Love forgive,
32 Smile at their Fate, nor know they are to live:
33 These modest wants had ne'er been understood,
34 But by MARIA's Cunning to be good;
35 None on their State now cast a Pitying Eye,
36 Hear their Complaints, or will their Want supply;
37 They move as if they went, (so deep's their moan)
38 Not only to Her Grave, but to their own;
39 That were relief, but coming Days they mourn,
40 Oppress'd with Life, and fearful to return.
41 With Dread concern, the Awful Senate came,
42 Their Grief, as all their Passions, is the same.
43 The next Assembly dissipates our Fears,
44 The Stately Mourning Throng of British Peers;
45 There, is each Member skill'd, and able known
46 For ev'ry weighty Purpose of a Throne;
47 T' adorn, or to defend their Native Isle,
48 Or Jarring Neighbour States to reconcile;
49 But most from Ormond's Port our Souls we chear,
50 And Hecatombs expect for every Tear:
51 For to the Foe is certain Vengeance sent,
52 When Heroes suffer, and the Brave lament;[Page 4]
53 To one their every Character may fall,
54 Sommer's, th' implicit Man that speaks 'em all,
55 That comprehensive Man unskill'd in naught,
56 With all the Arts of Learn'd Assemblies fraught;
57 Ready his Wit, his Language Free and Pure,
58 His Judgment Quick and Sudden, yet mature;
59 He can their different Powers at once dispense,
60 So justly is he form'd to speak their Sense:
61 But now Dumb Sorrow represents 'em more,
62 Then e'er his Powerful Eloquence before,
63 Though when his Lips with their known Rhet'rick flow,
64 The World's as silent, as himself is now.
65 Now all are Past, yon' Wondrous Man appears,
66 We yield to Gay Distress and comely Tears:
67 Villars! a Name design'd by Nature Chief,
68 T' invite to Ioy, or reconcile to Grief.
69 The Gross of Men were to course Uses Born,
70 But Heav'n made them Creation to adorn,
71 With mix'd disturb'd Delight by all is seen,
72 His Moving Manner, and his Speaking meen;
73 Rage, Pity, and Disdain at once we trace,
74 In the distracted Beauties of his Face;
75 We measure his each Step, each Motion Scan,
76 The Grief of Woman! but the Strength of Man![Page 5]
77 To such an Heigth his swoln Afflictions grow,
78 H' inspires the Steed he leads with Humane Woe;
79 The Generous Beast looks back to 's Purple side,
80 And now laments what was before his Pride:
81 No more at Voice of Warring Musick bounds,
82 He feels New Passion as the Trumpet sounds;
83 Nor knows what Power, his Courage stole away,
84 But heaves into big Sighs when he would Neigh.
85 Here at a stand our weary'd Sorrow seems
86 Rack'd with new Forms, and tortur'd with Extremes;
87 E'er this sad Triumph past we found relief,
88 Continu'd anguish lost the sense of Grief;
89 But still the Chariot fainting force supply'd,
90 Anew we all reviv'd, anew we dy'd;
91 Grief did all bounds ambitiously deny,
92 Swell'd every Breast, and melted every Eye.
93 Lo! Death himself! See him Triumphant ride!
94 Lo! the Grim Being moves with sullen Pride;
95 His Jaws are glutted for th' ensuing Year,
96 He'll shun our Cities, and our Armies spare:
97 The Ladies plac'd on high with looks deject,
98 With down intended looks our Souls direct.
99 Gold, Purple, Tissue, Crowns Enchant the sight,
100 And move our Grief, that us'd to give Delight:[Page 6]
101 There drowsie Gems, their Nature know no more,
102 But gather Darkness now, as Light before;
103 There all that's Bright i' th' Widow'd World is seen,
104 Too faint t' express, ev'n the Departed Queen.
105 No Mortal Beauty yet recalls an Eye,
106 The nearest Mourners pass neglected by;
107 But as the Ladies March, the lengthening row
108 Inspires a more familiar Kindly Woe:
109 Sure that's the Region of departed Loves,
110 Such Gloomy Day enlights th' Elysian Groves;
111 One Universal Face their Passion wears,
112 But Darby's smother'd Sighs and Gushing Tears,
113 In Her Affliction takes an abject State,
114 Something so humbly Low, yet very Great;
115 No single Cause so different Grief cou'd send,
116 She Weeps as Subject, Servant, and a Friend:
117 To close the Pomp the Fair Attendant Maids,
118 Appear true Angels dress'd like fancy'd Shades;
119 Their Grief imparts t' unpitied Lover's ease,
120 Sadly they Charm, and dismally they Please:
121 Their clouded Beauties speak Man's gawdy strife,
122 The glittering Miseries of Humane Life.
123 Who that these passing Obsequies had seen,
124 Wou'd e'er believe this were that very Queen;
125 That very Queen, whom Heav'n so lately gave
126 A Crown, in the same Place where, now, a Grave!
127 I see Her yet, Nature and Fortune's Pride,
128 A Scepter Grac'd her Hand, a King her Side,
129 Coelestial Youth and Beauty did impart,
130 Prophetick Vision to the coldest Heart:
131 We saw her Children should succeed her sway,
132 And future Monarchs round her Table Play.
133 Her People's Acclamations rend the Skies,
134 The ecchoing Firmament returns their Cries.
135 She unconcern'd and careless all the while,
136 Rewards their loud applauses with a Smile,
137 With easie Majesty, and Humble State,
138 Smiles at the trifle Power, and knows its date.
139 What being prov'd so furiously enclin'd,
140 For that Sh' each Day assum'd, each Night resign'd?
141 So short a Period to Her Glories giv'n,
142 The Crime of Fate, and the reproach of Heav'n!
143 But now the Pomp to th' sacred Abbey's led,
144 The Wide Capacious Palace of the Dead;
145 The Glaring Lamps disturb their usual Night,
146 They half awaken'd with th' intruding Light.[Page 8]
147 Souls to a Slanber Wake, and move their Clay,
148 They think her Pile, their Resurrection Day.
149 What Hands commit the Beauteous Good and Just,
150 The Dearer Part of WILLIAM to the Dust?
151 In Her his Vital Heat, his Glory lies,
152 In Her the Monarch liv'd, in Her he Dies.
153 One was their Soul while he secur'd Her rest,
154 War's Hardships: seem'd Luxurious to his Breast:
155 And he Abroad, no Peace repose could yield;
156 She felt the distant Dangers of the Field.
157 No form of State makes the Great Man forego,
158 The task due to Her Love, and to His Woe;
159 Since his kind frame can't the large suffering bear,
160 In Pity to his People, he's not here:
161 For to the mighty loss we now receive,
162 The next Affliction were to see him Grieve.
163 There, MARY, undisturb'd in quiet Sleep,
164 None shall Profane the Urn thy Ashes keep,
165 Till, time's no more, by all thou shalt be read,
166 And be a Monument to thy Neighbour dead;
167 For British Bards thy Memory shall save,
168 And snatch thy Eternal Virtue from the Grave.
About this text
Author: Sir Richard Steele
Genres: eulogy; heroic couplet
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