Upon the Death of His Incomparable Friend, Sir Henry Raynsford of Clifford

Could there be words found to expresse my losse,

There were some hope, that this my heavy crosse

Might be sustained, and that wretched I

Might once finde comfort: but to have him die

Past all degrees that was so deare to me;

As but comparing him with others, hee

Was such a thing, as if some Power should say

I'le take Man on me, to shew men the way

What a friend should be. But words come so short

Of him, that when I thus would him report,

I am undone, and having nought to say,

Mad at my selfe, I throwe my penne away,

And beate my breast, that there should be a woe

So high, that words cannot attaine thereto.

T'is strange that I from my abundant breast,

Who others sorrowes have so well exprest:

Yet I by this in little time am growne

So poore, that I want to expresse my owne.

I thinke the Fates perceiving me to beare

My worldly crosses without wit or feare:

Nay, with what scorne I ever have derided,

Those plagues that for me they have oft provided,

Drew them to counsaile; nay, conspired rather,

And in this businesse laid their heads together

To finde some one plague, that might me subvert,

And at an instant breake my stubborne heart;

They did indeede, and onely to this end

They tooke from me this more then man, or friend.

Hard-hearted Fates, your worst thus have you done,

Then let us see what lastly you have wonne

By this your rigour, in a course so strict,

Why see, I beare all that you can inflict:

And hee from heaven your poore revenge to view;

Laments my losse of him, but laughes at you,

Whilst I against you execrations breath;

Thus are you scorn'd above, and curst beneath.

Me thinks that man (unhappy though he be)

Is now thrice happy in respect of me,

Who hath no friend; for that in having none

He is not stirr'd as I am, to bemone

My miserable losse, who but in vaine,

May ever looke to finde the like againe.

This more then mine owne selfe; that who had seene

His care of me where ever I have beene,

And had not knowne his active spirit before,

Upon some brave thing working evermore:

He would have sworne that to no other end

He had beene borne: but onely for my friend.

I had beene happy, if nice Nature had

(Since now my lucke falls out to be so bad)

Made me unperfect, either of so soft

And yeelding temper, that lamenting oft,

I into teares my mournefull selfe might melt;

Or else so dull, my losse not to have felt.

I have by my too deere experience bought,

That fooles and mad men, whom I ever thought

The most unhappy, are in deede not so:

And therefore I lesse pittie can bestowe

(Since that my sence, my sorrowe so can sound)

On those I see in Bedlam that are bound,

And scarce feele scourging; and when as I meete

A foole by Children followed in the Streete,

Thinke I (poore wretch) thou from my griefe art free,

Nor couldst thou feele it, should it light on thee;

But that I am a Christian , and am taught

By him who with his precious bloud me bought,

Meekly like him my crosses to endure,

Else would they please me well, that for their cure,

When as they feele their conscience doth them brand,

Upon themselves dare lay a violent hand;

Not suffering Fortune with her murdering knife,

Stand like a Surgeon working on the life,

Desecting this part, that joynt off to cut,

Shewing that Artire, ripping then that gut,

Whilst the dull beastly World with her squint eye,

Is to behold the strange Anatomie.

I am perswaded that those which we read

To be man-haters, were not so indeed,

The Athenian Timon , and beside him more

Of which the Latines , as the Greekes have store;

Nor not they did all humane manners hate,

Nor yet maligne mans dignity and state.

But finding our fraile life how every day,

It like a bubble vanisheth away:

For this condition did mankinde detest,

Farre more incertaine then that of the beast.

Sure heaven doth hate this world and deadly too,

Else as it hath done it would never doe,

For if it did not, it would ne're permit

A man of so much vertue, knowledge, wit,

Of naturall goodnesse, supernaturall grace,

Whose courses when considerately I trace

Into their ends, and diligently looke,

They serve me for Oeconomike booke,

By which this rough world I not onely stemme,

In goodnesse but growe learn'd by reading them.

O pardon me, it my much sorrow is,

Which makes me use this long Parenthesis;

Had heaven this world not hated as I say,

In height of life it had not, tane away

A spirit so brave, so active, and so free,

That such a one who would not wish to bee,

Rather then weare a Crowne, by Armes though got,

So fast a friend, so true a Patriot.

In things concerning both the worlds so wise,

Besides so liberall of his faculties,

That where he would his industrie bestowe,

He would have done, e're one could think to doe.

No more talke of the working of the Starres,

For plenty, scarcenesse, or for peace, or Warres.

They are impostures, therefore get you hence

With all your Planets, and their influence.

No more doe I care into them to looke,

Then in some idle Chiromantick booke,

Shewing the line of life, and Venus mount,

Nor yet no more would I of them account,

Then what that tells me, since that what so ere

Might promise man long life: of care and feare,

By nature freed, a conscience cleere, and quiet,

His health, his constitution, and his diet;

Counting a hundred, fourescore at the least,

Propt up by prayers, yet more to be encreast,

All these should faile, and in his fiftieth yeare

He should expire, henceforth let none be deare,

To me at all, lest for my haplesse sake,

Before their time heaven from the world them take,

And leave me wretched to lament their ends

As I doe his, who was a thousand friends.

Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.