On a Furious Sorrow

Upon a grave outrageous Sorrow set,1
Digging the earth, as if she through would get.
Her hair untied loose on her shoulders hung,
And every hair with tears, like beads, was strung,
And when those tears2 did fall with their own weight,      5
Then3 newborn tears supplied their places straight.
She held a dagger, seemed with courage bold;
Grief bid her strike, but Fear did bid her hold.
Impatience raised her voice, and shrieking4 shrill,
Which sounded like a trumpet on a hill.                              10
Her face was flecked, like marble streaked with red,
Caused by grief’s vapors flying to her head.
Her bosom bare, her garments loose and wide,
And in this posture lay by Death’s cold side.
By chance a man, who had a fluent tongue,                        15
Came walking by, seeing her lie along,
Pitying5 her sad condition and her grief,
Did strain6 by rhet’ric’s7 help, to give relief.
“Why do you mourn,” said he, “and thus complain,
Since grief will neither Death nor gods8 restrain?             20
When they at first all creatures did create,
They did them all9 to Death predestinate.
Your sorrow cannot alter their decree,
Nor call back life by your impatiency.
Nor can the dead from Love receive a heat,                        25
Nor hear10 the sound of lamentations great,
For Death is stupid, being numb11 and cold,
No ears to hear, nor eyes for12 to behold.
Then mourn no more, since you no help can give,
Take pleasure in your beauty whilst13 you live,                 30
For in the fairest Nature pleasure takes,
But if you die, then Death his triumph makes.”
At last his words like keys unlocked her ears,
And then she straight considers what she hears.
“Pardon, you gods,” said she, “my murm’ring14 crime;    35
My grief shall ne’er dispute your will divine,
And in sweet life will I take most delight.”
And so went home with that fond carpet-knight.

  1. Upon a grave outrageous Sorrow set,] OUtragious Sorrow on a Grave was set, 1664; OUtragious Sorrow, on a Grave was set, 1668
  2. And when those tears] Which Tears, when they 1664; Which Tears, when they 1668
  3. Then] With 1653
  4. and shrieking] she Shriek’d out 1664; she shriek’d out 1668
  5. Pitying] Pittied 1664; Pitied 1668
  6. Did strain] And strain’d 1664; And strain’d, 1668
  7. rhet’ric’s] Rhethoricks 1653; Rhetorick’s 1664
  8. gods] th’Gods 1664; th’Gods, 1668
  9. They did them all] And gave them life, 1653
  10. hear] heares 1653
  11. numb] numb’d 1653
  12. for] hath 1664, 1668
  13. whilst] whiles 1653
  14. murm’ring] murmuring 1653