On The Death Of Sir Thomas Lea - Poem by William Strode
You that affright with lamentable notes
The servants from their beef, whose hungry throats
Vex the grume porter's surly conscience:
That blesse the mint for coyning lesse than pence:
You whose unknown and meanly payd desarts
Begge silently within, and knocke at hearts:
You whose commanding worth makes men beleeve
That you a kindnesse give when you receave:
All sorts of them that want, your tears now lend:
A House-keeper, a Patron, and a Friend
Is lodged in clay. The man whose table fedde
So many while he lived, since hee is dead,
Himselfe is turn'd to food: whose chimney burn'd
So freely then, is now to ashes turn'd.
The man which life unto the Muses gave
Seeks life of them, a lasting Epitaph:
And hee from whose esteeme all vertues found
A just reward, now prostrate in the ground,
(Like some huge ancient oake, that ere it fell,
Could not be measur'd by the rule so well)
Desires a faythfull comment on his dayes,
Such as shall neither lye to wrong or prayse:
But oh! what Muse is halfe so pure, so strong,
What marble sheets can keepe his name so long
As onely hee hath lived? then who can tell
A perfect story of his living well?
The noble fire that spur'd and whetted on
His bravely vertuous resolution
Could not so soone be quencht as weaker soules
Whose feebler sparke an ach or thought controuls.
His life burnt to the snuffe; a snuffe that needs
No socket to conceale the stench, but feeds
Our sence like costly fumes: his manly breath
Felt no disease but age; and call'd for Death
Before it durst intrude, or thought to try
That strength of limbs, that soules integrity.
Looke on his silver hayres, his graceful browe,
And Gravity itselfe might Lea avowe
Her father: Time, his schoolmate. Fifty years
Once wedlocke he embrac't: a date that bears
Fayre scope, if Soule and Body chance to bee
So long a couple as his wife and hee.
But number you his deeds, they so outpasse
The largest size of any mortal glasse,
That though hee liv'd a thousand, some would crye
Alas! he dyde in his minority.
His dayes and deeds would nere be counted even
Without Eternity, which now is given.
Such descants poore men make; who miss him more
Than sixe great men, that keeping house before
After a spurt unconstantly are fledd
Away to London. But the man that's dead
Is gone unto a place more populous,
And tarries longer there, and waites for us.
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