Beaumont and Fletcher (1584 - 1616 / England)
Consolation of Early Death
Sweet prince, the name of Death was never terrible
To him that knew to live; nor the loud torrent
Of all afflictions, singing as they swim,
A gall of heart, but to a guilty conscience:
Whilst we stand fair, though by a two-edged storm
We find untimely falls, like early roses,
Bent to the earth, we bear our native sweetness.
When we are little children,
And cry and fret for every toy comes 'cross us,
How sweetly do we shew, when sleep steals on us!
When we grow great, but our affection greater,
And struggle with this stubborn twin, born with us
And tug and pull, yet still we find a giant:
Had we not then the privilege to sleep
Our everlasting sleep, he would make us idiots.
The memory and monuments of good men
Are more than lives; and though their tombs want tongues
Yet have they eyes that daily sweat their losses,
And such a tear from stone no time can value.
To die both young and good are Nature's curses,
As the world says; ask Truth, they are bounteous blessings;
For then we reach at heaven in our full virtues,
And fix ourselves new stars, crown'd with our goodness.
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