An Elegie Upon The Noble

Doe they walke London still, and can we meet
With any now but mourners in the street?
Such a stupidity exceeds beleefe,
To have so great a cause, so small a griefe:
The kinder Marble weepes against a shower,
And can these more then Marble-hearts not poure
One teare for Fishborne? shall that VVorthy lie,
Like vulgar trophees of mortality,
Vnwept, and unremembred? or at best
Have common showers, such as become the rest,
Vassalls of death? who never thinking why
They were plac'd her, doe onely live, and die,
Who by no worthy act ayding their Name,
Perish at once in person and in Fame.
Where are our Cataracts? whereis the eye
That strives for sorrowfull præcedency?
That Poet now shall be accounted chiefe
Whose wit is not the highest, but whose griefe:
And he is most officious to this hearse,
Who flowes more in his eye, then in his verse.

Fishborne is dead, alas that Fishborne can
Onely in goodnesse be above a man
And not in lasting! that such men should have
For all their worth, but a more noted grave,
A sigh in earnest! Piety we see
Will not afford us an Æternity,
And hence we may collect the reason why
So few are studious of Piety,
So few are like to him: whom shall we see
His holy rivall in Virginity?
Whom shall we finde, that in an active life
Like his, injoy'd the meanes, without the wife?
Nay I may aske how few there are that shunne
Like him, the sinne in the occasion?
How few there are that looser thoughts defie!
And onely in good deeds doe multiply.
Him no deformity, no want of Fire,
Of lively blood did tame in the desire
Forc't to cold goodnesse, but his minde, as free
From the tyrannicall necessity,
As from the vice; he therefore liv'd not well
Because he did not know the way to Hell,
Chast out of weaknesse, no, he might have beene
A strong delinquent, powerfull in sinne,
He might have made, had he but heard his sense,
His lust as famous as his continence,
As was his friendship: which none can expresse
So full, but that the prayse will be the lesse.
How like unto a fable we esteeme,
What heretofore did most Heroicke seeme,
The Græcian frendships, when that we doe crowne
Our happy thoughts with Fishborne and his Browne?
His belov'd Browne, with whom he joyn'd in all
Which Avarice would it's particular call,
Cares, pleasures, hopes, and feares, nay they goe on
Heavenly in a combin'd devotion,
That they appeare, when ever we would scanne
Which were the kinder or the better man,
Æquall in all, their charity the same,
Their continency too, all but the Name,
So ready unto good, to bad so loth,
They one another, love, but Heav'n loves both.
O what an heate! what constancy was there!
How did their love teach them how to persevere
In holy duties! as if they had ment
By such an exquisite astonishment
To shew there was no difference in effect
Betweene the Friendly man and the Elect;
How were they ne're asunder but to meet!
How all their parting was to make more sweet
Their next embraces! nothing had the power,
Deare Shade, to make thee feare thy latest how'r
But a divorce from him, from his lov'd sight,
That thou shouldst thy Browne too with the light.
Add yet it was a kinde of friendship too
That thou so rare a courtesie wouldst doe,
To lead the way to death, in which alone
Thou couldst not wish him thy companion.

But is he dead? and does that harsher bell
Toll with such horrour noble Fishbornes knell,
Sure here's no funerall, or if there be,
It is a Funerall of Poverty.
Where are the preparations, the rich dresse
Of Death, the gawdy tyre of Rottennesse?
Where are the Hearlds? those great gods of earth,
Who can bestow on man a second birth?
And make him stand upon his honour now,
Who yesterday did leane upon the Plow?
Those grand Logicians, who exactly just
Can shew the punctuall difference of each dust,
And satisfie the most ambitious Dame
Discreetly, from what noble worme she came?
No, none of these does he vouchsafe to hire,
Who onely make a well-clad Gull admire
At his full vanity, which fill our minde
With pride, I feare, farre higher then our kinde,
Then our progenitors ere knew: but he
Chooseth the Heralds of that Majesty,
Who swaies the world, those men who heav'nly wise
Instruct us to below in our owne eyes;
Who shew us that the way to the most High
Is by dejection and humility,
Which blazon to us our Originall,
The lowly earth, and then our baser fall
Beneath that lownesse, unto these he payes
A tribute after he hath spent his dayes:
When natures due was pai'd, his wealth is theirs,
Whose life did call the fathers, whose death, heyres.
By his wise zeale the Churches the Priests are,
And they have now the meanes, who had the care:
Nor doe they longer finde, to breed despaires,
The tythe another's, when the Pulpit's theirs.
I have no Art of wonder, nor no skill
To make an action greater by my quill,
Yet thus much truly can say without the ayde
Of figure, Twas an act fit for a maid,
For him, who leads us in the way he trod,
Bringing himselfe, then others unto God;
That if the world have such another birth,
Our Saviour comming, may finde faith on earth
It would be injury after this to call
Him the true Surgion of the Hospitall,
Which he hath so releiv'd, that there are found
Some, who are sorry that they want a wound,
That they have no defect in any limme,
Which they should venture to be cur'd by him.

Thus when the greater sort after much care,
Much watchfulnesse, much cos'nage too, who dare,
So they may raise their states, ransacke the Seas
And after all their toyle cannot appease,
Their endlesse thirst of gaine, although they mine
So deepe in earth, Hell hath some hope to shine,
And all this onely but to change a sinne,
That what in covetousnesse did beginne
Might end in riot, that to mocke their paines
Their spending might be worse then were their gaines:
Thou gatherst with much conscience, and then
With greater goodnesse do'st disperse agen,
That this praise to thy memory may be giv'n
Here lies the merchant which hath purchas'd heav'n.

by Robert Gomersall

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