On The Earl Of Essex

Essex twice made unhappy by a Wife,
Yet Marry'd worse unto the Peoples strife:
He who by two Divorces did untie
His Bond of Wedlock and of Loyalty:
Who was by Easiness of Nature bred,
To lead that Tumult which first Him misled;
Yet had some glimm'ring Sparks of Virtue lent
To see (though late) his Errour, and Repent:
Essex lies here, like an inverted Flame,
Hid in the Ruins of his House and Name;
And as He, frailties sad Example, lies,
Warns the Survivours in his Exequies.
He shews what wretched bubbles Great Men are,
Through their Ambition grown too Popular:
For they Built up, from weak Opinion, stand
On Bases false as Water, loose as Sand;
Essex in differing Successes try'd
The fury and the falshood of each Side;
Now with applauses Deify'd, and then
Thrown down with spightfull infamy agen:
Tells them, what Arts soever them support,
Their Life is meerly Time and Fortunes sport,
And that no Bladders blown by Common breath,
Shall bear them up amidst the Waves of Death:
Tells them no Monstrous Birth, with Pow'r endu'd
By that more Monstrous Beast the Multitude;
No State-Coloss (though Tall as that bestrid
The Rhodian Harbour where their Navy rid)
Can hold that ill-porportion'd Greatness still,
Beyond his Greater, most Resistless will,
Whose dreadfull Sentence written on the Wall
Did sign the Temple Robbing Tyrants fall;
But Spight of their vast Priviledge, which strives
T'exceed the Size of ten Prerogatives;
Spight of their Endless Parliament, or Grants,
(In Order to those Votes and Covenants,
When, without Sense of their black Perjury
They Swear with Essex they would Live and Dye)
With their Dead General ere long they must
Contracted be into a Span of Dust.

by Henry King

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