Abraham Cowley

(1618 – 28 July 1667 / London)

On The Death Of Sir Henry Wootton - Poem by Abraham Cowley

What shall we say, since silent now is he
Who when he spoke, all things would silent be?
Who had so many languages in store,
That only fame shall speak of him in more;
Whom England now no more return'd must see;
He's gone to heaven on his fourth embassy.
On earth he travell'd often; not to say
H' had been abroad, or pass loose time away.
In whatsoever land he chanc'd to come,
He read the men and manners, bringing home
Their wisdom, learning, and their piety,
As if he went to conquer, not to see.
So well he understood the most and best
Of tongues, that Babel sent into the West;
Spoke them so truly, that he had (you'd swear)
Not only liv'd, but been born every-where.
Justly each nation's speech to him was known,
Who for the world was made, not us alone;
Nor ought the language of that man be less,
Who in his breast had all things to express.
We say that learning's endless, and blame Fate
For not allowing life a longer date:
He did the utmost bounds of knowledge find,
He found them not so large as was his mind;
But, like the brave Pellæan youth, did moan
Because that art had no more worlds than one;
And, when he saw that he through all had past,
He dy'd, lest he should idle grow at last.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 24, 2014

Poem Edited: Monday, February 24, 2014

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