chapter  66
A POEM HUMBLY DEDICATED To the Great Patern of Piety and Virtue CATHERINE QUEEN DOWAGER . ON THE DEATH OF HER DEAR LORD and HUSBAND King CHARLES II.
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Pardon! Oh Sacred Mourner! that we paid Our first sad Tributes to the Royal Dead; Which did our Souls to rending sighs convert, Drain’d our fixt eyes, and pierc’d the bleeding heart; 5 And for a Loss that Heav’n can ne’re redress, Our Raging Griefs were rude in their excess: Which, while with wild Devotion we pursue Ev’n Heav’n neglected lay, ev’n Sacred YOU: Our own dire Fates did all our Tears employ, 10 Griefs have self-interest too as well as Joy. But when such Sacrifice from us is due, What must the Mighty Loss exact from You, Who Mourn a King, and dear lov’d Husband too! How shall we measure that vast tide of Woe , 15 That did Your Royal breaking Heart o’reflow? And almost, with a high imperious force, Bore down the Banks of Life in its too rapid course. Your Languishments and Sorrows, who repeats, Or by his own, on Yours a Value sets, 20 Compares deep Seas to wand’ring Rivolets; Who though a while in their own Meads they stray, Lose their young streams at last in the unbounded Sea. Shou’d all the Nations tenderest griefs combine, And all our Pangs in one vast body joyn, 25 They cou’d not sigh with Agonies like Thine. That You survive, is Heav’ns peculiar care, 197To charm our Grief, and heal our wild Despair; While we to Charles’s Sacred Relict bow, Half the great Monarch we Adore in You: 30 The rest, our Natural Devotions grant; We Bless the Queen, and we Invoke the Saint: Nor fades your Light with Englands Worship’d Sun, Your Joys were set, but still Your Glory shon: And with a Luster that shall still increase, 35 When worlds shall be no more, and Natures self shall cease; For never in one mortal Frame did joyn A Fortitude and Vertue more Divine: Witness the Steady Graces of your Soul When charg’d by Perjuries so black and foul, 40 As did all Laws, both Humane and Divine controul. When Heaven (to make the Heroin understood, And Hell it self permitted loose abroad,) Gave you the Patience of a Suffering God. So our Blest Saviour his Reproaches bore, 45 When Piercing Thorns His Sacred Temples wore, And stripes compell’d the Rich redeeming Gore. Your pretious Life alone, the Fiends disdain’d, To Murder home, your Vertue they prophan’d; By Plots so rude, so Hellish a Pretence, 50 As ev’n wou’d call in question Providence: Or why Avenging Thunder did not strike Those Cursed hands durst touch the Sacred Ark; But as where long the Sun is Set in Night, They with more joy Salute the breaking Light, 55 Heav’n cast this Cloud before your Radient Beams, To prove their Force by contrary Extreams; The Nations all with new Devotion bow, To Glories never understood till now: ’Twas Majesty and Beauty Aw’d before, 60 But now the Brighter Vertue they adore. This the Great Lord of all Your Vows beheld, And with disdain Hells baffl’d rage repell’d; He knew Your Soul and the soft Angel there, And long (kind Rivals) did that Empire share; 65 And all your Tears, your pleading Eloquence, Were needless Treasures, lavish’d to convince Th’ Adorer of your known, and Sacred Innocence. 198When not for Life the Royal Suppliant mov’d, But His belief, whom more than Life she lov’d; 70 From whom, if e’re a frown she cou’d receive, ’Twas when She doubted that He cou’d believe; While he repeats the dear confirming Vows, And the first soft adressing Lover shows. By your reflecting Smiles the World was gay, 75 Faction was fled, and Universal Joy Made the glad business of the welcome day. Ah! too secure we baskt beneath the Sun, And little thought his Race so near was run, But as if Phaeton had usurp’d its Rule, 80 In the full Brightness of its Course it fell, Whilst all the frighted World with wonder gaz’d, And Nature at her own disorder stood amaz’d: While you, ah Pious Mourner did prepare To offer up to Heav’n your early Prayer; 85 You little thought ’twou’d meet your dear-lov’d Monarch there: But on the Wings of Death the News approach’t, And e’ne destroy’d the wondring sense it touch’t; O Mighty Heav’n-Born Soul! that cou’d support So like a God! this cruel first effort! 90 Without the Feebler Sexes mean replies, The April Tributes of their Tears and Cries. Your Valu’d Loss a Noysey Grief disdain’d Fixt in the heart, no outward sign remain’d; Though the soft Woman bow’d and dy’d within; 95 Without, Majestick Grace maintain’d the Queen! Yet swiftly to the Royal Bed You fly, Like short-liv’d Lightning from the parted sky; Whose new-born Motions do but flash and dy. Such Vig’rous Life ne’re mov’d your steps before, 100 But here____they sunk beneath the Weight they bore. Princes we more than Humane do allow, You must have been above an Angell too; Had You resisted this sad Scene of Woe; So the Blest Virgin at the Worlds great loss, 105 Came, and beheld, then Fainted at the Cross . Methinks I see, You like the Queen of Heav’n, 199To whom all Patience and all Grace was giv’n; When the Great Lord of Life Himself was lay’d Upon her Lap, all wounded, Pale, and Dead; 110 Transpierc’d with Anguish, ev’n to Death Transform’d, So She bewail’d Her God! so sigh’d, so Mourn’d; So His blest Image in Her Heart remain’d, So His blest Memory o’re Her Soul still Reign’d! She Liv’d the Sacred Victim to deplore, 115 And never knew, or wisht a Pleasure more. But when to Your Apartment You were brought, And Grief was Fortify’d with second Thought; O how it burst what e’re its Force withstood, Sigh[d] to a Storm, and swell’d into a Flood; 120 Courage, which is but a peculiar Art By Honour taught; where Nature has no Part: When e’re the Soul to fiercer Passions yield, It ceases to be brave and quits the field; Do’s the abandon’d sinking heart expose 125 Amid’st Ten Thousand Griefs, its worst of Foes. Your Court, what Dismal Majesty it wears, Infecting all around with Sighs and Tears; No Soul so dull, so insensible is found, Without concern to tread the hallowed Ground; 130 Awful, and silent, all the Rooms of State, And Emptiness is Solemn there, and great; No more Recesses of the sprightly Gay, But a Retreat for Death, from Noise and Day: Eccho’s from Room to Room we may pursue, 135 Soft sighs may hear, but Nothing is in view; Like Groves inchanted, where wreck’d Lovers ly, And breath their Moans to all the Passers-by; Who no kind Aids to their Relief can bring, But Eccho back their Pitying sighs agen. 140 But the mysterious Sanctum is conceal’d, To vulgar Eyes that must not be reveal’ d; To your Alcove your Splendours you confine, Like a Bright Saint veil’d in a Sable Shrine; As the Chast Goddess of the silent Night, 145 You Reign alone, retir’d from Gaudy Light; So Mourning Cinthia with her Starry Train, Wept the sad Fate of her Lov’d sleeping Swain.