A Funeral Poeme Upon the Death of the late noble Earle of Devonshire

Earle of Deuonshire.

Now that the hand of death hath layd thee there,
Where neither greatnesse, pompe, nor grace, we see,
Nor any differences of earth; and where
No vaile is drawne betwixt thy selfe and thee:
Now Deuonshire that thou art but a name,
And all the rest of thee besides is gone,
When men conceiue thee not, but by the fame
Of what thy vertue, and thy worth haue done:
Now shal my verse which thou in life didst grace,
(And which was no disgrace for thee to do)
Not leaue thee in the graue, that ougly place
That few regard, or haue respect vnto,
Where all attendance, and obseruance ends,
Where all the Sunshine of our fauour sets,
Where what was ill, no countenance defends,
And what was good, th'vnthankfull world forgets
Here shalt thou haue the seruice of my pen
(The tongue of my best thoughts) and in this case
I cannot be supposde to flatter, when
I speake behinde thy backe, not to thy face:
Men neuer sooth the dead but where they do
Find liuing tyes, to hold them therevnto
And I stand cleere from any other chaine
Then of my loue which freeborne, draws free breath.
The benefit thou gau'st me to sustaine
My humble life, I loose it by thy death.
Nor was it such, as it could lay on me
Any exaction of respect so strong,
As t'inforce m'obseruance, beyond thee,
Or make my conscience differ from my tongue
Let those be vassals to such seruices
Who have their hopes, or whose desires are hye,
For me I haue my ends, and know it is
For I haue learnt it is the property
For free men to speake truth, for slaues to lye.
And therefore I sincerely will report
First how thy parts were faire conuaid within,
How that braue minde was built and in what sort
All thy contexture of thy heart hath beene,
Which was so nobly fram'd, so well compos'd
As vertue neuer had a fairer seate,
Nor could be better lodg'd nor more repos'd,
Then in that goodly frame; where all things sweete,
And all things quiet, held a peacefull rest;
Where passion did no suddaine tumults raise
That might disturbe her, nor was euer brest
Contain'd so much, and made so little noyse;
That by thy silent modestie is found
The emptiest vessells make the greatest sound.
For thou so well discernd'st thy selfe, had'st read
Man and his breath so well, as made thee force
The lesse to speake, as being ordain'd to spread
Thy selfe in action, rather than discourse;
Though thou hadst made a generall Suruey
Of all the best of mens best knowledges,
And knew as much as euer learning knew,
Yet did it make thee trust thy selfe the lesse,
And lesse presume; and yet when being mou'd
In priuate talke to speake, thou didst bewray
How fully fraught thou wert within, and prou'd
That thou didst know what euer wit could say;
Which shew'd thou hadst not bookes as many haue
For oftentation, but for vse, and that
Thy bounteous memory was such, as gaue
A large reuenue of the good, it gat.
Witnesse so many volumes whereto thou
Hast set thy notes vnder thy learned hand,
And markt them with that print as will shew how
The point of thy conceiuing thoughts did stand;
That none would thinke if all thy life had beene,
Turn'd into leisure, thou couldst haue attain'd
So much of time, to haue perus'd and seene,
So many volumes that so much contain'd.
Which furniture may not be deem'd least rare
Amongst those ornaments that sweetly dight
Thy solitary Wansteed , where thy care
Had gathered all what heart or eyes delight.
And whereas many others haue, we see
All things within their houses worth the sight,
Except themselues, that furniture of thee
And of thy presence, gaue the best delight
With such a season, such a temprature
Wert thou compos'd, as made sweetnes one,
And held the tenor of thy life still sure,
In consort with thy selfe in perfect tone;
And neuer man had heart more truely seru'd
Vnder the regiment of his owne care
And was more at command, and more obseru'd
The colours of that modesty he bare
Then that of thine, in whom men neuer found
That any shew, or speech obscene, could tell
Of any veine thou hadst that was vnsound,
Or motion of thy powers, that turn'd not well
And this was thy prouision laid within,
Thus wert thou to thy selfe, and now remaines.
VVhat to the world thou outwardly hast beene,
VVhat the dimension of that side containes,
Which likewise was so goodly and so large
As shewes that thou wert borne t'adorne the dayes
Wherein thou liu'st, and also to discharge
Those parts which Englands and thy fame should raise;
Although in peace, thou seem'dst to be all peace
Yet being in warre, thou wert all warre, and there
As in thy spheere thy spirits did neuer cease
To moue with indefatigable care
And nothing seem'd more to arride thy heart
Nor more inlarge thee into iollity,
Then when thou sawest thy selfe in armour girt,
Or any act of armes like to be nye.
The Belgique warre first tride thy martiall spirit,
And what thou wert and what thou wouldst be found
And markt thee there according to thy merit
With honors stampe, a deepe and noble wound
And that same place that rent from mortall men
Immortall Sidney , glory of the field
And glory of the Muses, and their pen
(VVho equall bare the Caduce and the Shield )
Had likewise bin thy last, had not the fate
Of England then reseru'd thy worthy blood,
Vnto the preseruation of a State
That much concern'd her honour and her good;
And thence return'd thee to inioy the blis
Of grace and fauour in Elizaes sight
(That miracle of women) who by this
Made thee be held according to thy right;
Which faire and happy blessing thou mightst well
Haue farre more raisd had not thine enemy
Retired priuacy, made thee to sell
Thy greatnes for thy quiet, and deny
To meet faire Fortune, when she came to thee.
For neuer man did his preferment fly,
And had it in that emminent degree,
As thou, as if it fought thy modesty
For that which many, whom ambition toyles
And tortures with their hopes, hardly attaine
With all their thrusts, & shouldring-plots, and wiles
VVas easily made thine, without thy paine.
And without any priuate malicing
Or publique greeuance, euery good man ioy'd
That vertue could come cleere to any thing,
And faire deserts to be so fairely pay'd.
Those benefits that were bestow'd on thee
VVere not like fortunes fauours, they could see.
Eliza's cleere-eied iudgement is renown'd
For making choice of thy ability:
But it will euerlastingly redound
Vnto the glory, and benignity
Of Britaines mighty Monarch, that thou wert
By him aduanced for thy great desert;
It being the fairer worke of maiesty
With fauour to reward, than to employ.
And as thou saidst that naught thy heart did grieue,
In death so much, as that time would not yeeld
Thee meanes to shew thy zeale, that thou mightst liue
T'haue done but one dayes seruice in the field,
And that faire bed of honour died vpon,
And with thy bloud haue seald thy gratefulnesse
To such a royall Maister. Who had done
So much for thee t'aduance thy seruices;
Which were indeed of that deseart, as they
Might aske their grace themselues: yet do we see
That to successe, desert hath not a way
But vnder Princes that most gracious be,
For without thy great valour we had lost
The dearest purchase euer England made:
And made with such profuse exceeding cost
Of bloud and charge, to keepe and to inuade:
As commutation paid a deerer price
For such a peece of earth, and yet well paid
And well aduentur'd for, with great aduice,
And happily to our dominions laid;
Without which out-let, England thou hadst bin
From all the rest of th'earth shut out, and pent
Vnto thy selfe, and forst to keepe within,
Inuiron'd round with others gouernment;
Where now by this, thy large imperiall Crowne
Stands boundlesse in the West, and hath a way
For noble times, left to make all thine owne
That lyes beyond it, and force all t'obay.
And this important peece, like t'haue beene rent
From off thy state, did then so tickle stand,
As that no ioynture of the gouernment
But shooke, no ligament, no band
Of order and obedience, but were then
Loose and in tottering, when the charge
Thereof was laid on Montioy , and that other men
Checkt by example sought to put it off.
And he out of his natiue modesty
(As being no vndertaker) labours too
To haue auoided that which his ability
And Englands Genius would haue him do
Alleadging how it was a charge vnfit
For him to vndergo, seeing such a one
As had more power and meanes t'accomplish it
Then he could haue, had there so little done.
VVhose ill successe (considering his great worth,
Was such as could that mischiefe be withstood,
It had beene wrought) did in it selfe bring forth
Discouragement that he should do lesse good.
The state replide, it was not lookt he should
Restore it wholy to it selfe againe,
But only now if possible he could
In any fashion but the same retaine
So that it did not fall a sunder quite,
Being thus dishiuered in a desperate plight.
With courage on he goes, doth exiquute
With counsell, and returnes with victory;
But in what noble fashion he did sute
This action, with what wit and industry,
Is not to be disgracde in this small carde:
It askes a spacious Mappe of more regarde.
Here is no roome to tell with what strange speed
And secrecy he vsed to preuent
The enemies designes, nor with what heed
He marcht before report, where what he ment
Fame neuer knew her selfe till it was done,
His drifts and Rumor seldome being all one;
Nor will this place conueniency afford
To shew how he, when dismall winter stormes
Keepes peace, and makes Mars sheath his sword,
Toyles him abroad, and noble act performes;
Nor how by mastring difficulties so
In times vnusuall, and by passage hard
He brauely came to disappoint his foe,
And many times surpris'd him vnprepared.
Yet let me touch one point of that great Act,
That famous siege, the Master-worke of all,
Where no distresse nor difficulties lackt
T'afflict his weary tyred Campe with all.
That when inclos'd by powerfull enemies
One either side, with feeble troupes he lay
Intrencht in myre, in colde, in miseries;
Kept waking with Alarumes night and day
There were, who did aduise him, to withdraw
His army to some place of safe defence,
From the apparent perill which they saw
Was to confound them, or to force them thence.
For now the Spaniard had possest three ports
The most important of this Ile say they,
And sooner fresh supplyments, Spaine transports
To them then England can to vs conuay;
The Reble is in heart, and now is ioyn'd
With some of them already, and doth stand
Here ouer vs, with chiefest strength combin'd
Of all the desperate forces of the land;
And how vpon these disaduantages
Your doubtfull troupes will fight your Honour guess .
Th'vndaunted Montioy hereto answers this.
My worthy friends, the charge of this great state
And kingdome to my faith committed is,
And I must all I can ingeniate
To answere for the same, and render it
Vpon as faire a reckning as I may;
But if from hence I shall once stirre my feete,
The kingdome is vndone, and lost this day.
All will fly thither where they find is hart,
And feare shal haue none stand to take his part;
And how shal we answere our Country then
At our returne, nay answere our owne fame?
Which howsoeuer we haue done like men
Will be imbranded with the marke of blame.
And since we here are come vnto the point
For which we toild so much and staid so long,
Let vs not now our trauailes disappoint
Of th'honour which doth thereunto belong.
We cannot spend our blood more worthily
Then in so faire a cause, and if we fall
We fall with glory, and our worth thereby
Shalbe renowned, and held deare of all.
And for my part I count the field to be
The honourablest bed to die vpon;
And here your eies this day either see
My body laid, or els this action done.
The Lord the chiefe and soueraigne Generall
Of Hosts, makes weake to stand, the strong to fall.
With which braue resolution he so warm'd
Their shaking courage, as they all in one
Set to that noble worke; which they perform'd
As gallantly as euer men haue done.
Of which tis better nothing now to say,
Then say too little: For there rests behind
A Trophey to b'erected, that will stay
To all posterities, and keepe in minde
That glorious act which did a kingdome saue,
Kept the Crowne whole and made the peace we haue.
And now I will omit to shew therefore,
His management of publike businesses:
Which oft are vnder fortunes conduct more
Then ours, and tell his priuate carriages;
VVhich on his owne discretion did relie,
VVherewith his spirit was furnisht happely.
Milde, affable, and easie of accesse
He was, but with a due reseruednes:
So that the passage to his fauours lay
Not common to all commers, nor yet was
So narrow, but it gaue a gentle way
To such as fitly might or ought to passe:
Nor sold he smoke, nor tooke he vp to day
Commodities of mens attendances,
And of their hopes, to pay them with delay,
And intertaine them with faire promises.
But as a man that lou'd no great commerce
With businesse, and with noise, he euer flies
That Maze of many waies, which might disperse
Him, into other mens vncertainties.
And with a quiet calme sincerity,
H'effects his vndertakings really.
His tongue and heart did not turne-backes, but went
One way, and kept one course with what he ment.
He vs'd no maske at all, but euer ware
His honest inclination open fac'd,
The friendships that he vou'd, most constant were,
And with great iudgment, and discretion plac'd
And Deuonshire thy faith hath her reward,
Thy noblest friends do not forsake thee now,
After thy death, but beare a kind regard,
Vnto thine honour in the Graue, and show,
That worthinesse, which merits to remaine
Among th'examples of integrity;
Whereby themselues no doubt shall also gaine,
A like regard vnto their memory.
Now muttering enuy, what canst thou produce
To darken the bright luster of such parts?
Cast thy pure stone, exempt from all abuse.
Say what defects could weigh downe these deserts?
Summon detraction, to obiect the worst
That may be told, and vtter all it can.
It cannot find a blemish to b'inforst,
Against him, other, then he was a man,
And built of flesh and blood, and did liue here
Within the region of infirmity;
VVhere all perfections neuer did appeare,
To meet in any one so really,
But that his frailty euer did bewray
Vnto the world, that he was set in clay.
But yet his vertues, and his worthinesse
Being seene so farre aboue his weaknesse,
Must euer shine, whilst th'other vnder ground,
With his fraile part, shall neuer more be found
And gratitude , and charity I know,
Will keepe no note, nor memory will haue,
Of any fault committed, but will now
Be pleasd, to bring all within his Graue.
Seeing only such stand euer base and low
That strike the dead, or mutter vnder-hand:
And as dogges bark at those they do not know,
So they at such they do not vnderstand
The worthier sort, who know we do not liue
With perfect men, will neuer be so vnkinde;
They will the right to the disceased giue,
Knowing themselues must likewise leaue behind,
Those that will censure them. And they know how,
The Lyon being dead euen Hares insult.
And will not vrge a passed error now,
Whenas he hath no party to consult,
Nor tongue, nor aduocate, to shew his minde:
They rather will lament the losse they finde,
By such a noble member of that worth,
And know how rare the world such men brings forth
For neuer none had heart more truly seru'd,
Vnder the regiment of his own care,
And was none at command, and none obseru'd
The coullours of that honesty he bare,
Then that of his: who neuer more was knowne;
To vse immodest act, or speech obscene,
Or any leuity that might haue showne,
The touch but of a thought that was vncleane.
So that what euer he hath done amisse,
Was vnderneath a shape that was not knowne;
As Iupiter did no vnworthinesse,
But was in other formes, not in his owne.
But let it now sufficient be, that I,
The last Scene of his act of life bewray;
Which giues th'applause to all, doth glorifie
The worke. For t'is the euening crownes the day.
This action of our death especially
Shewes all a man. Here only is he found.
With what munition he did fortifie
His heart, how good his furniture hath bin.
And this did he performe in gallant wise:
In this did he confirme his worthinesse.
For on the morrow after the surprise
That sicknes made on him with fierce accesse,
He told his faithfull friend whom he held deere
(And whose great worth was worthy so to be)
How that he knew those hot diseases were
Of that contagious force, as he did see
That men were ouer-tumbled sudainly,
And therefore did desire to set a course
And order t'his affaires as speedily;
As might be, ere his sicknes should grow worse:
And as for death, said he, I do not wey,
I am resolu'd and ready in this case.
It cannot come t'affright me any way,
Let it looke neuer with so grim a face:
And I will meete it smiling, for I know,
How vaine a thing all this worlds glory is.
And herein did he keepe his word. Did show
Indeede as he had promised in this.
For sicknesse neuer heard him grone at all,
Nor with a sigh consent to shew his paine;
Which howsoeuer being tirannicall,
He sweetly made it looke, and did retaine
A louely countenance of his being well,
And so would euer make his tongue to tell.
Although the feruour of extremity,
Which often doth throw those defences downe,
VVhich in our health, wall in infirmity,
Might open lay more then we would haue knowne:
Yet did no idle word in him bewray
Any one peece of nature ill set in;
Those lightnesses that any thing will say
Could say no ill of what they knew within;
Such a sure locke of silent modesty
VVas set in life vpon that noble heart
As that no anguish, nor extremity
Could open it t'impaire that worthy part.
For hauing dedicated still the same
Vnto deuotion, and to sacred skill,
That furnish perfect held, that blessed flame
Continued to the last in feruour still.
And when his spirit and tongue, no longer could
Do any certaine seruices beside,
Euen at the point of parting, they vnfold
VVith feruent zeale, how only he relide
Vpon the merits of the precious death
Of his redeemer; and with rapt desires
H'appeales to grace, his soule deliuereth
Vnto the hand of mercy, and expires.
Thus did that worthy, who most vertuously
And mildly liu'd, most sweete, and mildly dy.
And thus Great Patrone of my muse haue I
Paid thee my vowes and fairely cleer'd the accounts
VVhich in my loue I owe thy memory.
And let me say that herein there amounts
Something vnto thy fortune, that thou hast
This monument of thee, perhaps may last.
Which doth not t'euery mighty man befall:
For loe how many when they die, die all.
All this doth argue too, thy great deserts,
For honour neuer brought vnworthinesse
Further then to the graue, and there it parts
And leaues mens greatnes to forgetfulnes.
And we do see that nettles, thistles, brakes
(The poorest workes of nature) tread vpon
The proudest frames that mans inuention makes,
To hold his memory when he is gone.
But Deuonshire thou hast another Tombe
Made by thy vertues in a safer roome.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.