Madam, to shew the smoothness of my vain,
Neither that I would have you entertain
The time in reading me, which you would spend
In fair discourse with some known honest friend,
I write not to you. Nay, and which is more,
My powerful verses strive not to restore,
What time and sickness have in you impair’d,
To other ends my Elegy is squar’d.
Your beauty, sweetness, and your graceful parts
That have drawn many eyes, won many hearts,
Of me get little, I am so much man,
That let them do their utmost that they can,
I will resist their forces: and they be
Though great to others, yet not so to me.
The first time I beheld you, I then saw
That (in itself) which had the power to draw
My stay’d affection, and thought to allow
You some deal of my heart; but you have now
Got far into it, and you have the skill
(For ought I see) to winne upon me still.
When I do think how bravely you have born
Your many crosses, as in Fortunes scorn,
And how neglectful you have seem’d to be,
Of that which hath seem’d terrible to me,
I thought you stupid, nor that you had felt
Those griefs which (often) I have scene to melt
Another woman into sighs and tears,
A thing but seldom in your sex and years,
But when in you I haue perceiv’d again,
(Noted by me, more then by other men)
How feeling and how sensible you are
Of your friends sorrows, and with how much care
You seek to cure them, then myself I blame,
That I your patience should so much misname,
Which to my understanding maketh known
Who feels anothers grief, can feel their own.
When straight me thinks, I hear your patience say,
Are you the man that studied Seneca:
Plinys most learned letters; and must I
Read you a Lecture in Philosophy,
T’avoid the afflictions that have us’d to reach you;
I’ll learn you more, Sir, then your book can teach you.
Of all your sex, yet never did I know,
Any that yet so actually could show
Such rules for patience, such an easie way,
That who so sees it, shall be forc’d to say,
Loe what before seem’d hard to be discern’d,
Is of this Lady, in an instant learn’d.
It is heavens will that you should wronged be
By the malicious, that the world might see
Your Dove-like meekness; for had the base scum,
The spawn of Fiends, been in your slander dumb,
Your virtue then had perish’d, never priz’d,
For that the same you had not exercised;
And you had lost the Crown you have, and glory,
Nor had you been the subject of my Story.
Whilst they feel Hell, being damned in their hate,
Their thoughts like Devils them excruciate,
Which by your noble sufferings do torment
Them with new pains, and gives you this content
To see your soul an Innocent, hath suffer’d,
And up to heaven before your eyes be offer’d:
Your like we in a burning Glass may see,
When the Sun’s rayes therein contracted be
Bent on some object, which is purely white,
We find that colour doth dispierce the light,
And stands untainted: but if it hath got
Some little sully; or the least small spot,
Then it soon fires it; so you still remain
Free, because in you they can find no stain.
God doth not love them least, on whom he lays
The great’st afflictions; but that he will praise
Himself most in them, and will make them fit,
Near’st to himself who is the Lamb to sit:
For by that touch, like perfect gold he tries them,
Who are not his, until the world denies them.
And your example may work such effect,
That it may be the beginning of a Sect
Of patient women; and that many a day
All Husbands may for you their Founder pray.
Nor is to me your Innocence the less,
In that I see you striue not to suppress
Their barbarous malice; but your noble heart
Prepar’d to act so difficult a part,
With unremoved constancy is still
The same it was, that of your proper ill,
The effect proceeds from your own self the cause,
Like some just Prince, who to establish laws,
Suffers the breach at his best lov’d to strike,
To learn the vulgar to endure the like.
You are a Martir thus, nor can you be
Less to the world so valued by me:
If as you have begun, you still persevere
Be ever good, that I may love you ever.