Henry King

(16 January 1592 – 30 September 1669 / Worminghall, Buckinghamshire)

The Exequy


1 Accept, thou shrine of my dead saint,
2 Instead of dirges, this complaint;
3 And for sweet flow'rs to crown thy hearse,
4 From thy griev'd friend, whom thou might'st see
5 Quite melted into tears for thee.
6 Dear loss! since thy untimely fate
7 My task hath been to meditate
8 On thee, on thee; thou art the book,
9 The library whereon I look,
10 Though almost blind. For thee (lov'd clay)
11 I languish out, not live, the day,
12 Using no other exercise
13 But what I practise with mine eyes;
14 By which wet glasses I find out
15 How lazily time creeps about
16 To one that mourns; this, only this,
17 My exercise and bus'ness is.
18 So I compute the weary hours
19 With sighs dissolved into showers.


20 Nor wonder if my time go thus
21 Backward and most preposterous;
22 Thou hast benighted me; thy set
23 This eve of blackness did beget,
24 Who wast my day (though overcast
25 Before thou hadst thy noon-tide past)
26 And I remember must in tears,
27 Thou scarce hadst seen so many years
28 As day tells hours. By thy clear sun
29 My love and fortune first did run;
30 But thou wilt never more appear
31 Folded within my hemisphere,
32 Since both thy light and mot{"i}on
33 Like a fled star is fall'n and gone;
34 And 'twixt me and my soul's dear wish
35 An earth now interposed is,
36 Which such a strange eclipse doth make
37 As ne'er was read in almanac.


38 I could allow thee for a time
39 To darken me and my sad clime;
40 Were it a month, a year, or ten,
41 I would thy exile live till then,
42 And all that space my mirth adjourn,
43 So thou wouldst promise to return,
44 And putting off thy ashy shroud,
45 At length disperse this sorrow's cloud.


46 But woe is me! the longest date
47 Too narrow is to calculate
48 These empty hopes; never shall I
49 Be so much blest as to descry
50 A glimpse of thee, till that day come
51 Which shall the earth to cinders doom,
52 And a fierce fever must calcine
53 The body of this world like thine,
54 (My little world!). That fit of fire
55 Once off, our bodies shall aspire
56 To our souls' bliss; then we shall rise
57 And view ourselves with clearer eyes
58 In that calm region where no night
59 Can hide us from each other's sight.


60 Meantime, thou hast her, earth; much good
61 May my harm do thee. Since it stood
62 With heaven's will I might not call
63 Her longer mine, I give thee all
64 My short-liv'd right and interest
65 In her whom living I lov'd best;
66 With a most free and bounteous grief,
67 I give thee what I could not keep.
68 Be kind to her, and prithee look
69 Thou write into thy doomsday book
70 Each parcel of this rarity
71 Which in thy casket shrin'd doth lie.
72 See that thou make thy reck'ning straight,
73 And yield her back again by weight;
74 For thou must audit on thy trust
75 Each grain and atom of this dust,
76 As thou wilt answer Him that lent,
77 Not gave thee, my dear monument.


78 So close the ground, and 'bout her shade
79 Black curtains draw, my bride is laid.


80 Sleep on my love in thy cold bed
81 Never to be disquieted!
82 My last good-night! Thou wilt not wake
83 Till I thy fate shall overtake;
84 Till age, or grief, or sickness must
85 Marry my body to that dust
86 It so much loves, and fill the room
87 My heart keeps empty in thy tomb.
88 Stay for me there, I will not fail
89 To meet thee in that hollow vale.
90 And think not much of my delay;
91 I am already on the way,
92 And follow thee with all the speed
93 Desire can make, or sorrows breed.
94 Each minute is a short degree,
95 And ev'ry hour a step towards thee.
96 At night when I betake to rest,
97 Next morn I rise nearer my west
98 Of life, almost by eight hours' sail,
99 Than when sleep breath'd his drowsy gale.


100 Thus from the sun my bottom steers,
101 And my day's compass downward bears;
102 Nor labour I to stem the tide
103 Through which to thee I swiftly glide.
104 'Tis true, with shame and grief I yield,
105 Thou like the van first took'st the field,
106 And gotten hath the victory
107 In thus adventuring to die
108 Before me, whose more years might crave
109 A just precedence in the grave.
110 But hark! my pulse like a soft drum
111 Beats my approach, tells thee I come;
112 And slow howe'er my marches be,
113 I shall at last sit down by thee.


114 The thought of this bids me go on,
115 And wait my dissolut{"i}on
116 With hope and comfort. Dear (forgive
117 The crime) I am content to live
118 Divided, with but half a heart,
119 Till we shall meet and never part.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: grief, fate, sleep, loss, trust, night, sun, sorrow, star, sad, remember, friend, fire, heaven, hope, rose, running

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Exequy by Henry King )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Really funny!, PARTHA SARATHI PAUL
  2. Daddy, Rimni chakravarty
  3. Colourless light contains all the colour.., Mohammad Siddiqui
  4. come on, laxami Cards
  5. Beloved God, Mohammad Siddiqui
  6. Beloved, Mohammad Siddiqui
  7. Life is beautiful, Mohammad Siddiqui
  8. Poetry: A Small Fighting Bulldog, Laijon Liu
  9. Lights connect to each other, Mohammad Siddiqui
  10. My silent cry echoes through the universe, Mohammad Siddiqui

Poem of the Day

poet Percy Bysshe Shelley

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!--yet soon
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Jessie Mackay

 
[Hata Bildir]