Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Epigrams: An Epitaph on Salathiel Pavy, a Child of Queen Elizabeth’s Chapel
By Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
 
WEEP 1 with me, all you that read
    This little story;
And know, for whom a tear you shed
    Death’s self is sorry.
’Twas a child that so did thrive        5
    In grace and feature,
As Heaven and Nature seemed to strive
    Which owned the creature.
Years he numbered scarce thirteen
    When Fates turned cruel,        10
Yet three filled zodiacs had he been
    The stage’s jewel;
And did act, what now we moan,
    Old men so duly,
As, sooth, the Parcæ thought him one,—        15
    He played so truly.
So, by error to his fate
    They all consented;
But viewing him since, alas, too late
    They have repented;        20
And have sought to give new birth
    In baths to steep him;
But being so much too good for earth,
    Heaven vows to keep him.
 
Note 1. These children (called in the next reign Children of Her Majesty’s Revels) were trained up to act before the Queen. Salathiel had acted in two of Jonson’s plays, in 1600, and in 1601, when he is supposed to have died. [back]
 
 
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