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Upon the Three Sons of the Lord Sheffield, drowned in Humber
by [?]

Light Sonnets hence, and to loose Lovers fly,
And mournful Maidens sing an Elegie
On those three SHEFFIELDS, over-whelm’d with waves,
Whose loss the tears of all the Muses craves;
A thing so full of pitty as this was,
Me thinks for nothing should not slightly pass.
Treble this loss was, why should it not borrow,
Through this Isle’s treble parts, a treble sorrow:
But Fate did this, to let the world to know,
That sorrows which from common causes grow,
Are not worth mourning for, the loss to bear,
But of one only son, ‘s not worth one tear.
Some tender-hearted man, as I, may spend
Some drops (perhaps) for a deceased friend.
Some men (perhaps) their Wives late death may rue;
Or Wives their Husbands, but such be but few.
Cares that have us’d the hearts of men to touch
So oft, and deeply, will not now be such;
Who’ll care for loss of maintenance, or place,
Fame, liberty, or of the Princes grace;
Or suits in law, by base corruption crost,
When he shall find, that this which he hath lost,
Alas, is nothing to his, which did lose,
Three sons at once so excellent as those:
Nay, it is feard that this in time may breed
Hard hearts in men to their own natural seed;
That in respect of this great loss of theirs,
Men will scarce mourn the death of their owne heirs.

Through all this Isle their loss so public is,
That every man doth take them to be his,
And as a plague which had beginning there,
So catching is, and reigning every where,
That those the farthest off as much do rue them,
As those the most familiarly that knew them;
Children with this disaster are waxed sage,
And like to men that strucken are in age;
Talk what it is, three children at one time
Thus to have drown’d, and in their very prime;
Yea, and do learn to act the same so well,
That then old folk, they better can it tell.
Invention, oft that Passion us’d to feign,
In sorrows of themselves but slight, and mean,
To make them seem great, here it shall not need,
For that this Subject doth so far exceed
All forc’d Expression, that what Poesy shall
Happily think to grace it self withal,
Falls so below it, that it rather borrows
Grace from their grief, then addeth to their sorrows,
For sad mischance thus in the loss of three,
To show itself the utmost it could be:
Exacting also by the self same law,
The utmost tears that sorrow had to draw
All future times hath utterly prevented
Of a more loss, or more to be lamented.

Whilst in fair youth they lively flourish’d here,
To their kind Parents they were only dear:
But being dead, now every one doth take
Them for their own, and do like sorrow make:
As for their own begot, as they pretended
Hope in the issue, which should haue discended
From them again; nor here doth end our sorrow,
But those of us, that shall be born tomorrow
Still shall lament them, and when time shall count,
To what vast number passed years shall mount,
They from their death shall duly reckon so,
As from the Deluge, former us’d to do.
O cruel Humber guilty of their gore,
I now believe more than I did before
The Brittish Story, whence thy name begun
Of Kingly Humber, an invading Hun,
By thee devoured, for’t is likely thou
With blood wert Christen’d, blood-thirsty till now.
The Ouse, the Done, and thou far clearer Trent,
To drown the SHEFFIELDS as you gave consent,
Shall curse the time, that ere you were infus’d,
Which have your waters basely thus abus’d.
The groveling Boor yee hinder not to go,
And at his pleasure Ferry to and fro.
The very best part of whose soul, and blood,
Compared with theirs, is viler then your mud.
But wherefore paper, do I idely spend,
On those deaf waters to so little end,
And up to starry heaven do I not look,
In which, as in an everlasting book,
Our ends are written; O let times rehearse
Their fatal loss, in their sad Anniverse.