Vpon The Death Of Mistris Elianor Fallowfield

A poem by Michael Drayton

Accursed Death, what neede was there at all
Of thee, or who to councell thee did call;
The subiect whereupon these lines I spend
For thee was most vnfit, her timelesse end
Too soone thou wroughtst, too neere her thou didst stand;
Thou shouldst haue lent thy leane and meager hand
To those who oft the help thereof beseech,
And can be cured by no other Leech.
In this wide world how many thousands be,
That hauing past fourescore, doe call for thee.
The wretched debtor in the Iayle that lies,
Yet cannot this his Creditor suffice
Doth woe thee oft with many a sigh and teare,
Yet thou art coy, and him thou wilt not heare.
The Captiue slaue that tuggeth at the Oares,
And vnderneath the Bulls tough sinewes rores,
Begs at thy hand, in lieu of all his paines,
That thou wouldst but release him of his chaines;
Yet thou a niggard listenest not thereto,
With one short gaspe which thou mightst easily do,
But thou couldst come to her ere there was neede,
And euen at once destroy both flower and seede.
But cruell Death if thou so barbarous be,
To those so goodly, and so young as shee;
That in their teeming thou wilt shew thy spight;
Either from marriage thou wilt Maides affright,
Or in their wedlock, Widowes liues to chuse
Their Husbands bed, and vtterly refuse,
Fearing conception; so shalt thou thereby
Extirpate mankinde by thy cruelty.
If after direfull Tragedy thou thirst,
Extinguish Himens Torches at the first;
Build Funerall pyles, and the sad pauement strewe,
With mournfull Cypresse, and the pale-leau'd Yewe.
Away with Roses, Myrtle, and with Bayes;
Ensignes of mirth, and iollity, as these;
Neuer at Nuptials vsed be againe,
But from the Church the new Bride entertaine
With weeping Nenias, euer and among,
As at departings be sad Requiems song.
Lucina by th' olde Poets that wert sayd,
Women in Childe-birth euermore to ayde,
Because thine Altars, long haue layne neglected:
Nor as they should, thy holy fiers reflected
Vpon thy Temples, therefore thou doest flye,
And wilt not helpe them in necessitie.
Thinking vpon thee, I doe often muse,
Whether for thy deare sake I should accuse
Nature or Fortune, Fortune then I blame,
And doe impute it as her greatest shame,
To hast thy timelesse end, and soone agen
I vexe at Nature, nay I curse her then,
That at the time of need she was no stronger,
That we by her might haue enioy'd thee longer.
But whilst of these I with my selfe debate,
I call to minde how flinty-hearted Fate
Seaseth the olde, the young, the faire, the foule,
No thing on earth can Destinie controule:
But yet that Fate which hath of life bereft thee,
Still to eternall memory hath left thee,
Which thou enioy'st by the deserued breath,
That many a great one hath not after death.

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