You lovers all come mourn here, and lament
Over this grave, and build a monument
For beauty’s everlasting memory;
The world shall never such another see.
Her face did seem like to2 a glory bright, 5
Nay, e’en the rising sun from her took light.3
The sun and moon could ne’er eclipsed have been
If e’er these4 planets had her beauty seen.
Nor had this isle been subject to dark nights,
Had not sleep shut her eyes, and5 stopped those lights; 10
No bodies could infection take; her breath
Did cleanse the air, restoring life from death.
But Nature, finding she had been too free
In making such a mighty power as she,
Used all Industry’s powerful art and skill, 15
And gave Death pow’r this body for to kill.6
For had but Nature let this body live, 7
She’d’ve had no work for Death nor Fates to give.8
- Whitaker argues that this poem is about the daughter of Cavendish’s sister Mary, and that the poem “mourn[s her] in terms reminiscent of Donne’s Anniversaries”; see Mad Madge, 146. She notes, however, that this reading may not have been immediately evident to everyone: “These poems did not name their subjects—only those who knew Margaret’s family history well would identify her relations here” (146).
- to] as 1664, 1668
- Nay, e’en the rising sun from her took light;] And when the Sun did rise, from her took light: 1653
- e’er these] ere those 1653
- and] so 1653
- And gave Death pow’r this body for to kill.] Gave Death a greater power this body to kill. 1653
- had but Nature let this body live,] if that Nature let this body live, 1653
- She’d’ve had no work for Death nor Fates to give.] She had no work for Death, nor Fates to give. 1653; She’d had no Work for Death, nor Fates to give. 1664; She’d had no Work for Death, nor Fates to give. 1668