An Epitaph On The Marchioness Of Winchester

This rich Marble doth enterr

The honour'd Wife of Winchester,

A Vicounts daughter, an Earls heir,

Besides what her vertues fair

Added to her noble birth,

More then she could own from Earth.

Summers three times eight save one

She had told, alas too soon,

After so short time of breath,

To house with darknes, and with death.

Yet had the number of her days

Bin as compleat as was her praise,

Nature and fate had had no strife

In giving limit to her life.

Her high birth, and her graces sweet,

Quickly found a lover meet;

The Virgin quire for her request

The God that sits at marriage feast;

He at their invoking came

But with a scarce-wel-lighted flame;

And in his Garland as he stood,

Ye might discern a Cipress bud.

Once had the early Matrons run

To greet her of a lovely son,

And now with second hope she goes,

And calls Lucina to her throws;

But whether by mischance or blame

Atropos for Lucina came;

And with remorsles cruelty,

Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree:

The haples Babe before his birth

Had burial, yet not laid in earth,

And the languisht Mothers Womb

Was not long a living Tomb.

So have I seen som tender slip

Sav'd with care from Winters nip,

The pride of her carnation train,

Pluck't up by som unheedy swain,

Who onely thought to crop the flowr

New shot up from vernall showr;

But the fair blossom hangs the head

Side-ways as on a dying bed,

And those Pearls of dew she wears,

Prove to be presaging tears

Which the sad morn had let fall

On her hast'ning funerall.

Gentle Lady may thy grave

Peace and quiet ever have;

After this thy travail sore

Sweet rest sease thee evermore,

That to give the world encrease,

Shortned hast thy own lives lease;

Here besides the sorrowing

That thy noble House doth bring,

Here be tears of perfect moan

Weept for thee in Helicon,

And som Flowers, and som Bays,

For thy Hears to strew the ways,

Sent thee from the banks of Came,

Devoted to thy vertuous name;

Whilst thou bright Saint high sit'st in glory,

Next her much like to thee in story,

That fair Syrian Shepherdess,

Who after yeers of barrennes,

The highly favour'd Joseph bore

To him that serv'd for her before,

And at her next birth much like thee,

Through pangs fled to felicity,

Far within the boosom bright of blazing Majesty and Light,

There with thee, new welcom Saint,

Like fortunes may her soul acquaint,

With thee there clad in radiant sheen,

No Marchioness, but now a Queen.

John Milton

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