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
 
To Castara, upon the Death of a Lady
By William Habington (1605–1654)
 
CASTARA weep not, tho’ her tomb appear
Sometime thy grief to answer with a tear:
The marble will but wanton with thy woe.
Death is the sea, and we like rivers flow
To lose ourselves in the insatiate main,        5
Whence rivers may, she ne’er, return again.
Nor grieve this crystal stream so soon did fall
Into the ocean; since she perfum’d all
The banks she past, so that each neighbour field
Did sweet flowers cherish’d by her watering yield,        10
Which now adorn her hearse. The violet there
On her pale cheek doth the sad livery wear,
Which Heaven’s compassion gave her: and since she
’Cause clothed in purple, can no mourner be,
As incense to the tomb she gives her breath,        15
And fading on her lady waits in death:
Such office the Ægyptian handmaids did
Great Cleopatra, when she dying chid
The asp’s slow venom, trembling she should be
By fate robb’d even of that black victory.        20
The flowers instruct our sorrows. Come, then, all
Ye beauties, to true beauty’s funeral,
And with her to increase death’s pomp, decay.
Since the supporting fabric of your clay
Is fallen, how can ye stand? How can the night        25
Show stars, when Fate puts out the day’s great light?
 
 
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