Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
 
The Lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan His Son
XXXVIII. George Wither
 
THY 1 beauty, Israel, is gone:
Slaine in the places high is he.
The mighty now are ouerthrowne!
Oh! thus now commeth it to be?
  Let not this newes their streets throughout        5
In Gath or Askalon be told;
For fear Philistia’s daughters flout,
Lest vaunt the vncircumcized should.
 
On you hereafter let no dewe,
You mountaines of Gilboa, fall:        10
Let there be neither showers on you,
Nor fields that breed an offering shall;
  For there with shame away was throwne
The target of the strong, alas!
The shield of Saul, euen as of one        15
That neu’r with oile anoynted was.
 
Nor from their blood that slaughter’d lay,
Nor from the fatt of strong men slaine,
Came Jonathan his bow away,
Nor drew forth Saul his sword in vaine;        20
  In life time they were louely faire,
In death they undiuided ayre;
More swift than eagles of the air,
And stronger they than lions were.
 
Weepe, Israel’s daughters! weepe for Saul,        25
Who you with skarlet hath aray’d,
Who clothed you with pleasures all,
And on your garments gold hath layd.
  How comes it he that mighty was
The foyle in battell doth sustaine?        30
Thou Jonathan! oh, thou, alas!
Upon thy places high wert slaine.
 
And much distressed is my heart,
My brother Jonathan, for thee;
My very deare delight thou wert,        35
And wondrous was thy loue to me:
  So wondrous it surpassed farre
The love of women eu’ry way.
Oh! how the mighty fallen are!
How warlike instruments decay.        40
 
Note 1. XXXVIII. George Wither.—This celebrated poet was born in 1588, and died in 1667. His chief works are, “Prince Henry’s Obsequies; or Mournful Elegies upon his Death;” “A Satire, written to the King’s most Excellent Majesty;” “Epithalamia: or Nuptial Poems upon the most blessed and happy Marriage between the High and Mightie Prince Frederic the Fifth, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavier, etc., and the most virtuous, gracious, and thrice-excellent Princess Elizabeth, sole daughter to our dread Sovereign James etc.;” “The Shepherds Hunting;” “The Moth;” “Hymns and Songs of the Church;” “Fair Virtue, or Mistress of Phil’arete;” “Abuses Stript and Whipt;” “Britain’s Remembrancer;” “Emblems, Ancient and Modern;” and “Epigrams.” These works were all collected and printed “for John Budge, dwelling in St. Paul’s Church Yard, at the Sign of the Green Dragon, 1622.” A reprint of this collection appeared not many years ago, and a few copies may now occasionally be met with. Of this writer, Mr. Montgomery observes: “There are scattered throughout his multifarious and very unequal productions, many passages of great beauty and excellence. He was avowedly a Christian poet, though he frequently lost his Christian meekness in the heat of polemics; but his zeal carried with it every evidence of honesty; and he was a sufferer, almost to martyrdom, both for his loyalty and his orthodoxy, in the troublous times in which he lived. That he was a poet can never be questioned by any reader, who has taste and sensibility enough to understand and enjoy the exquisitely affecting confession of his obligations to the Muse. That he was a Christian will be as little questioned by those who are most extensively acquainted with the character of his religious compositions.” [back]
 
 
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