Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
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John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
 
Epicedes and Obsequies upon the Death of Sundry Personages
Elegy on the L[ord] C[hancellor]
 
SORROW, who to this house scarce knew the way,
Is, O, heir of it, our all is his prey. 1
This strange chance claims strange wonder, and to us
Nothing can be so strange as to weep thus.
’Tis well his life’s loud-speaking works deserve,        5
And give praise too, our cold tongues could not serve;
’Tis well he kept tears from our eyes before,
That to fit this deep ill we might have store.
O, if a sweet briar climb up by a tree,
If to a paradise that transplanted be,        10
Or fell’d, and burnt for holy sacrifice,
Yet that must wither which by it did rise,
As we for him dead; though no family
E’er rigg’d a soul for heaven’s discovery
With whom more venturers more boldly dare        15
Venture their states, with him in joy to share,
We lose what all friends loved, him; he gains now
But life by death, which worst foes would allow,
If he could have foes, in whose practice grew
All virtues, whose name subtle schoolmen knew.        20
What ease can hope that we shall see him beget,
When we must die first, and cannot die yet?
His children are his pictures; O, they be
Pictures of him dead, senseless, cold as he.
Here needs no marble tomb, since he is gone,        25
He, and about him his, are turn’d to stone.
 
Note 1. l. 2. 1669, his pay [back]
 
 
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