Elegie IV: On The Death of Prince Henrie

William Alexander

If griefe would giue me leaue, to let the world haue part
Of that which it [though surfetting] engrosses in my hart:
Then I would sow some teares, that so they mo might breed,
Not such as eyes vse to distill, but which the hart doth bleed.
As from a troubled spring like off-spring must abound,
So let my lynes farre from delight, hoarse [as their Authour] sound.
I care not at what rate that others pryse their worth,
So I disburthen may my minde, and powre my passions forth.
Though generall be the losse, one shelfe confounding quyte
The Kings chiefe joy, the kingdomes hope, & all the worlds delight;
And that each one of those, a diuerse wound giues me,
Whil'st all concurring would increase, what not increas'd can be:
Yet mine owne part when weigh'd, so deepe impression leaues,
That my soules pow'rs all so possess'd, no others it conceaues.
How can my hart but burst, while as my thoughts would trace
The great Prince Henries gallant parts, and not-affected grace?
Ah that I chanc'd so long [O worldly pleasure fraile!]
To be a witnesse of that worth, which I but liue to waile!
How oft haue I beheld [a world admiring it]
His Martiall sports euen men amaze, his wordes bewitch their wit;
Whose worth did in all mindes just admiration breed:
When but a childe, more then a man [ah too soon rype indeed!]
Still temperat, actiue, wise, as borne to doe great things;
He reallie shew what he was, a quint-essence of Kings.
With stately lookes yet mylde, a Majestie humane,
Both loue and reuerence bred at once, entys'd, yet did restraine.
What acting any where, he still did grace his part,
A courtlie Gallant with the King, a statlie Prince apart:
When both together were, O how all harts were wonne!
A Syre so louing to behold, so duetifull a Sonne.
He more then all his state his fathers fauour weigh'd,
And gloried more him to attend, then when else-where obey'd.
But heauen enuied the earth, that one it so should grace,
Who was not due vnto the world, though lent to it a space:
And straight they tooke their owne, who now no more appeares,
Euen when the Spheares & muses joyn'd, did serue to count his years.
What wit could not perswade, authoritie not force,
An vnion now at last is made [ah made by a divorce!]
Both once did one thing wish, and both one want do waile,
Thus miserie hath match'd vs now, when all things else did faile.
We might as all the rest, so this exception misse,
I rather we had jarr'd in all, or we had joyn'd in this.
This the first tempest is, which all this Ile did tosse,
His cradle Scotland, England tombe, both shar'd his life and losse.
O how the traitrous world, by flattering hopes betrayes
And scornes the confidence of man, who stil through danger strayes!
But most of all the great, when at their fortunes hight
Oft huge disasters do confound, not lookt for till they light.
That states which seem'd most calme, straight stormes in waues involue,
Who gathered were for greatest joy, with greatest griefe dissolue.
That Macedonian Syre, whose victories were ryfe,
The day which did his daughter wed, did part him selfe from lyfe.
French second Henrie to, slaine in like sort was seene,
As to triumph there with the rest, death had inuited beene:
For whil'st he tilting was, when all his troupes among,
A broken trees flow'n spark did proue more then his scepter strong.
That Goth who vanquish'd Rome, and thousands did destroy,
Euen when his bryde bent to embrace, died in his greatest joy.
The last yet first French King for courage, valour, wit,
Who by the sword acquyr'd the Crowne, fram'd for a scepter fit:
Whil'st mustring all his might, [being farre from feare or doubt]
He fraughted France with armed troupes, as bragging all about.
Then whil'st his hopes most high, euen kingdomes did appall,
He in that greatest pompe surprys'd, a villains prey did fall.
Thus hath it fatall beene, confirm'd in euery age,
That who did meet to acte great parts, went weeping from the stage.
Is it that God euen then, would hautie thoughts disbend?
Or that such times as eminent, vyle traitours most attend?
So when suspected least [O Ocean of annoy!]
Lo, mourning mirth preuented hath, & griefe encroach'd on joy.
Yet not in such a sort, as with some in times past,
Whose life being oft involu'd in blood, blood did dispatch at last:
But he [still sacred] went not violated hence,
The glorie of a Gallant youth, a paterne for a Prince.
What brest so barbourous is, which vertue can not charme?
No hand, no, nor no hart in ought, could do or dreame his harme.
Since by his sight not blest, all count themselues accurst,
By whom the world was big with hopes, which did not die but burst.
Tyme did contract it seem'd [his course so short foreseene]
That worth in youth, which all his age should haue extended beene:
For O, to what strange hight had his perfections flowne,
Had they as first, still by degrees proportionablie growne!
But superstition then, had statues made of gold,
And some might haue Idolatriz'd, as many did of old.
The fates [it may be] stay'd what after might him trap,
As in Campania Pompeyes death preuented had mishap:
He happie was in this, which few haue beene before,
When all opinions purchas'd were, to venture them no more.
For all perswaded are, as acted in effect,
That he might haue perform'd as much as mortalls could expect.
Thus went he from the world, when with the best thought euen,
Whil'st though but flourishing on earth, yet a ripe fruit for heauen.
The Lord oft twixt the King and dangers huge did stand,
And many so to saue, him sau'd, as life of all the Land:
For scorning all their crafts, who vglie euils did found,
What priuat plots did God disclose, what open force confound!
Yet when he was to part, [O what a wondrous oddes!]
Who was by nature the Kings Sonne, but by adoption Gods:
Nought vrging else his end, saue nature that declyn'd,
Bright Angels did beare hence that flowre, as other flowres the wind.
Both Deuils and men when joyn'd to kill for whom God cares,
May draw a starre as soone from heauen, as hurt one of their haires:
And whom he will remoue when as their time once comes,
No guards can guarde, no Physick helpe, one fit all force o'recomes.
But ah that treasures losse, which I can not digest,
Is still the center of my minde, the point where it must rest:
And each great part of his, which I did earst perceiue,
My fancies representing new do thoughts attendance craue.
What wonder though my plaints be thus for him imploy'd
Who my affections free till then, when Virgins, first enjoy'd?
And heare me [happie Ghost] that fame may spread them forth,
I vow to reuerence and enroule the wonders of thy worth:
That euen though chyldlesse dead, thou shall not barren be,
If Phoebus helpe to procreat posteritie for thee.
Thus where that others did abandon thee with breath,
As still aliue I trauell yet, to serue thee after death.

Last updated January 14, 2019