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The Exequy

Accept, thou shrine of my dead saint,

Instead of dirges, this complaint;

And for sweet flow'rs to crown thy hearse,

From thy griev'd friend, whom thou might'st

Quite melted into tears for thee.

Dear loss! since thy untimely

My task hath been to

On thee, on thee; thou art the book,

The library whereon I look,

Though almost blind.

For thee (lov'd clay)I languish out, not live, the day,

Using no other

But what I practise with mine eyes;

By which wet glasses I find

How lazily time creeps

To one that mourns; this, only this,

My exercise and bus'ness is.

So I compute the weary

With sighs dissolved into showers.

Nor wonder if my time go

Backward and most preposterous;

Thou hast benighted me; thy

This eve of blackness did beget,

Who wast my day (though

Before thou hadst thy noon-tide past)And I remember must in tears,

Thou scarce hadst seen so many

As day tells hours.

By thy clear

My love and fortune first did run;

But thou wilt never more

Folded within my hemisphere,

Since both thy light and

Like a fled star is fall'n and gone;

And 'twixt me and my soul's dear

An earth now interposed is,

Which such a strange eclipse doth

As ne'er was read in almanac.

I could allow thee for a

To darken me and my sad clime;

Were it a month, a year, or ten,

I would thy exile live till then,

And all that space my mirth adjourn,

So thou wouldst promise to return,

And putting off thy ashy shroud,

At length disperse this sorrow's cloud.

But woe is me! the longest

Too narrow is to

These empty hopes; never shall

Be so much blest as to descryA glimpse of thee, till that day

Which shall the earth to cinders doom,

And a fierce fever must

The body of this world like thine,(My little world!).

That fit of

Once off, our bodies shall

To our souls' bliss; then we shall

And view ourselves with clearer

In that calm region where no

Can hide us from each other's sight.

Meantime, thou hast her, earth; much

May my harm do thee.

Since it

With heaven's will I might not

Her longer mine,

I give thee

My short-liv'd right and

In her whom living I lov'd best;

With a most free and bounteous grief,

I give thee what I could not keep.

Be kind to her, and prithee

Thou write into thy doomsday

Each parcel of this

Which in thy casket shrin'd doth lie.

See that thou make thy reck'ning straight,

And yield her back again by weight;

For thou must audit on thy

Each grain and atom of this dust,

As thou wilt answer Him that lent,

Not gave thee, my dear monument.

So close the ground, and 'bout her

Black curtains draw, my bride is laid.

Sleep on my love in thy cold

Never to be disquieted!

My last good-night!

Thou wilt not

Till I thy fate shall overtake;

Till age, or grief, or sickness

Marry my body to that

It so much loves, and fill the

My heart keeps empty in thy tomb.

Stay for me there,

I will not

To meet thee in that hollow vale.

And think not much of my delay;

I am already on the way,

And follow thee with all the

Desire can make, or sorrows breed.

Each minute is a short degree,

And ev'ry hour a step towards thee.

At night when I betake to rest,

Next morn I rise nearer my

Of life, almost by eight hours' sail,

Than when sleep breath'd his drowsy gale.

Thus from the sun my bottom steers,

And my day's compass downward bears;

Nor labour I to stem the

Through which to thee I swiftly glide.'Tis true, with shame and grief I yield,

Thou like the van first took'st the field,

And gotten hath the

In thus adventuring to

Before me, whose more years might craveA just precedence in the grave.

But hark! my pulse like a soft

Beats my approach, tells thee I come;

And slow howe'er my marches be,

I shall at last sit down by thee.

The thought of this bids me go on,

And wait my

With hope and comfort.

Dear

The crime) I am content to

Divided, with but half a heart,

Till we shall meet and never part.

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Henry King

Henry King (1592 – 30 September 1669) was an English poet who served as Bishop of Chichester.

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