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Full Online Book HomePoemsOn The Death Of Mrs. Elizabeth Filmer
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On The Death Of Mrs. Elizabeth Filmer Post by :sev7en Category :Poems Author :Richard Lovelace Date :October 2011 Read :1695

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On The Death Of Mrs. Elizabeth Filmer

<1>AN ELEGIACALL EPITAPH.


You that shall live awhile, before
Old time tyrs, and is no more:
When that this ambitious stone
Stoopes low as what it tramples on:
Know that in that age, when sinne
Gave the world law, and governd Queene,
A virgin liv'd, that still put on
White thoughts, though out of fashion:
That trac't the stars, 'spite of report,
And durst be good, though chidden for't:
Of such a soule that infant Heav'n
Repented what it thus had giv'n:
For finding equall happy man,
Th' impatient pow'rs snatch it agen.
Thus, chaste as th' ayre whither shee's fled,
She, making her celestiall bed
In her warme alablaster, lay
As cold is in this house of clay:
Nor were the rooms unfit to feast
Or circumscribe this angel-guest;
The radiant gemme was brightly set
In as divine a carkanet;
Of<44.2> which the clearer was not knowne,
Her minde or her complexion.
Such an everlasting grace,
Such a beatifick face,
Incloysters here this narrow floore,
That possest all hearts before.

Blest and bewayl'd in death and birth!
The smiles and teares of heav'n and earth!
Virgins at each step are afeard,
Filmer is shot by which they steer'd,
Their star extinct, their beauty dead,
That the yong world to honour led;
But see! the rapid spheres stand still,
And tune themselves unto her will.

Thus, although this marble must,
As all things, crumble into dust,
And though you finde this faire-built tombe
Ashes, as what lyes in its wombe:
Yet her saint-like name shall shine
A living glory to this shrine,
And her eternall fame be read,
When all but VERY VERTUE'S DEAD.<3>

Notes:

<1> This lady was perhaps the daughter of Edward Filmer, Esq., of East Sutton, co. Kent, by his wife Eliza, daughter of Richard Argall, Esq., of the same place (See Harl. MS. 1432, p. 300). Possibly, the Edward Filmer mentioned here was the same as the author of "Frenche Court Ayres, with their Ditties englished," 1629, in praise of which Jonson has some lines in his UNDERWOODS.


<2> Original reads FOR.

<3> "Which ensuing times shall warble,
When 'tis lost, that's writ in marble."
Wither's FAIR VIRTUE, THE MISTRESS OF PHILARETE, 1622.


Headley (SELECT BEAUTIES, ed. 1810, ii. p. 42) has remarked the similarity between these lines and some in Collins' DIRGE IN CYMBELINE:--


"Belov'd till life can charm no more;
And MOURN'D TILL PITY'S SELF BE DEAD."


(The end)
Richard Lovelace's poem: On The Death Of Mrs. Elizabeth Filmer

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