Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. (1886–1960). Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th C. 1921.

1583–1648 Lord Herbert of Cherbury

Elegy over a Tomb

MUST I then see, alas! eternal night

Sitting upon those fairest eyes,

And closing all those beams, which once did rise

So radiant and bright,

That light and heat in them to us did prove

Knowledge and Love?

Oh, if you did delight no more to stay

Upon this low and earthly stage,

But rather chose an endless heritage,

Tell us at least, we pray,

Where all the beauties that those ashes ow’d

Are now bestow’d?

Doth the Sun now his light with yours renew?

Have Waves the curling of your hair?

Did you restore unto the Sky and Air,

The red, and white, and blew?

Have you vouchsafed to flowers since your death

That sweetest breath?

Had not Heav’ns Lights else in their houses slept,

Or to some private life retir’d?

Must not the Sky and Air have else conspir’d,

And in their Regions wept?

Must not each flower else the earth could breed

Have been a weed?

But thus enrich’d may we not yield some cause

Why they themselves lament no more?

That must have changed the course they held before,

And broke their proper Laws,

Had not your beauties giv’n this second birth

To Heaven and Earth?

Tell us, for Oracles must still ascend,

For those that crave them at your tomb:

Tell us, where are those beauties now become,

And what they now intend:

Tell us, alas, that cannot tell our grief,

Or hope relief.