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Inicial Fórum William Shakespeare Quem foi William Shakespeare? A Funeral Elegy for Master William Peter by W.S.

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    W.S., "A Funeral Elegy."  Edited by Donald W. Foster
    from W.S., A Funerall Elegye in memory of the late vertuous Maister
    William Peeter (London: G. Eld for T. Thorpe, 1612).  [4,600 words.]
    Common nouns capitalized and italicized in Q are here capitalized but not
    italicized; italicized quotations in Q are rendered in quotation marks.
    
    Participial endings and ellisions may be normalized for use with a private
    text archive.  DWF (1/15/96)
    
    
    TO MASTER JOHN PETER
    of Bowhay in Devon, Esquire.
    
    The love I bore to your brother, and will do to his memory, hath crav'd
    from me this last duty of a friend; I am herein but a second to the
    privilege of Truth, who can warrant more in his behalf than I undertook to
    deliver.  Exercise in this kind I will little affect, and am less addicted
    to, but there must be miracle in that labor which, to witness my
    remembrance to this departed gentleman, I would not willingly undergo.
    Yet whatsoever is here done, is done to him, and to him only. For whom and
    whose sake I will not forget to remember any friendly respects to you, or
    to any of those that have lov'd him for himself, and himself for his
    deserts.
    W. S.
    
    
    A FUNERAL ELEGY
    
    Since Time, and his predestinated end,
    Abridg'd the circuit of his hopeful days,
    Whiles both his Youth and Virtue did intend
    The good endeavors of deserving praise,
    5    What memorable monument can last
    Whereon to build his never-blemish'd name
    But his own worth, wherein his life was grac'd-
    Sith as [that] ever he maintain'd the same?
    Oblivion in the darkest day to come,
    10   When sin shall tread on merit in the dust,
    Cannot rase out the lamentable tomb
    Of his short-liv'd deserts; but still they must,
    Even in the hearts and memories of men,
    Claim fit Respect, that they, in every limb
    15   Rememb'ring what he was, with comfort then
    May pattern out one truly good, by him.
    For he was truly good, if honest care
    Of harmless conversation may commend
    A life free from such stains as follies are,
    20   Ill recompensed only in his end.
    Nor can the tongue of him who lov'd him least
    (If there can be minority of love
    To one superlative above the rest
    Of many men in steady faith) reprove
    25   His constant temper, in the equal weight
    Of thankfulness and kindness: Truth doth leave
    Sufficient proof, he was in every right
    As kind to give, as thankful to receive.
    The curious eye of a quick-brain'd survey
    30   Could scantly find a mote amidst the sun
    Of his too-short'ned days, or make a prey
    Of any faulty errors he had done-
    Not that he was above the spleenful sense
    And spite of malice, but for that he had
    35   Warrant enough in his own innocence
    Against the sting of some in nature bad.
    Yet who is he so absolutely blest
    That lives encompass'd in a mortal frame,
    Sometime in reputation not oppress'd
    40   By some in nothing famous but defame?
    Such in the By-path and the Ridgeway lurk
    That leads to ruin, in a smooth pretense
    Of what they do to be a special work
    Of singleness, not tending to offense;
    45   Whose very virtues are, not to detract
    Whiles hope remains of gain (base fee of slaves),
    Despising chiefly men in fortunes wrack'd-
    But death to such gives unrememb'red graves.
    Now therein liv'd he happy, if to be
    50     Free from detraction happiness it be.
    His younger years gave comfortable hope
    To hope for comfort in his riper youth,
    Which, harvest-like, did yield again the crop
    Of Education, better'd in his truth.
    55   Those noble twins of heaven-infused races,
    Learning and Wit, refined in their kind
    Did jointly both, in their peculiar graces,
    Enrich the curious temple of his mind;
    Indeed a temple, in whose precious white
    60   Sat Reason by Religion oversway'd,
    Teaching his other senses, with delight,
    How Piety and Zeal should be obey'd-
    Not fruitlessly in prodigal expense
    Wasting his best of time, but so content
    65   With Reason's golden Mean to make defense
    Against the assault of youth's encouragement;
    As not the tide of this surrounding age
    (When now his father's death had freed his will)
    Could make him subject to the drunken rage
    70   Of such whose only glory is their ill.
    He from the happy knowledge of the wise
    Draws virtue to reprove secured fools
    And shuns the glad sleights of ensnaring vice
    To spend his spring of days in sacred schools.
    75   Here gave he diet to the sick desires
    That day by day assault the weaker man,
    And with fit moderation still retires
    From what doth batter virtue now and then.
    But that I not intend in full discourse
    80   To progress out his life, I could display
    A good man in each part exact and force
    The common voice to warrant what I say.
    For if his fate and heaven had decreed
    That full of days he might have liv'd to see
    85   The grave in peace, the times that should succeed
    Had been best-speaking witnesses with me;
    Whose conversation so untouch'd did move
    Respect most in itself, as who would scan
    His honesty and worth, by them might prove
    90   He was a kind, true, perfect gentleman-
    Not in the outside of disgraceful folly,
    Courting opinion with unfit disguise,
    Affecting fashions, nor addicted wholly
    To unbeseeming blushless vanities,
    95     But suiting so his habit and desire
    As that his Virtue was his best Attire.
    Not in the waste of many idle words
    Car'd he to be heard talk, nor in the float
    Of fond conceit, such as this age affords,
    100  By vain discourse upon himself to dote;
    For his becoming silence gave such grace
    To his judicious parts, as what he spake
    Seem'd rather answers which the wise embrace
    Than busy questions such as talkers make.
    105  And though his qualities might well deserve
    Just commendation, yet his furnish'd mind
    Such harmony of goodness did preserve
    As nature never built in better kind;
    Knowing the best, and therefore not presuming
    110  In knowing, but for that it was the best,
    Ever within himself free choice resuming
    Of true perfection, in a perfect breast;
    So that his mind and body made an inn,
    The one to lodge the other, both like fram'd
    115  For fair conditions, guests that soonest win
    Applause; in generality, well fam'd,
    If trim behavior, gestures mild, discreet
    Endeavors, modest speech, beseeming mirth,
    True friendship, active grace, persuasion sweet,
    120  Delightful love innated from his birth,
    Acquaintance unfamiliar, carriage just,
    Offenseless resolution, wish'd sobriety,
    Clean-temper'd moderation, steady trust,
    Unburthen'd conscience, unfeign'd piety;
    125  If these, or all of these, knit fast in one
    Can merit praise, then justly may we say,
    Not any from this frailer stage is gone
    Whose name is like to live a longer day-
    Though not in eminent courts or places great
    130  For popular concourse, yet in that soil
    Where he enjoy'd his birth, life, death, and seat
    Which now sits mourning his untimely spoil.
    And as much glory is it to be good
    For private persons, in their private home,
    135  As those descended from illustrious blood
    In public view of greatness, whence they come.
    Though I, rewarded with some sadder taste
    Of knowing shame, by feeling it have prov'd
    My country's thankless misconstruction cast
    140  Upon my name and credit, both unlov'd
    By some whose fortunes, sunk into the wane
    Of plenty and desert, have strove to win
    Justice by wrong, and sifted to embane
    My reputation with a witless sin;
    145  Yet time, the father of unblushing truth,
    May one day lay ope malice which hath cross'd it,
    And right the hopes of my endangered youth,
    Purchasing credit in the place I lost it.
    Even in which place the subject of the verse
    150  (Unhappy matter of a mourning style
    Which now that subject's merits doth rehearse)
    Had education and new being; while
    By fair demeanor he had won repute
    Amongst the all of all that lived there,
    155  For that his actions did so wholly suit
    With worthiness, still memorable here.
    The many hours till the day of doom
    Will not consume his life and hapless end,
    For should he lie obscur'd without a tomb,
    160  Time would to time his honesty commend;
    Whiles parents to their children will make known,
    And they to their posterity impart,
    How such a man was sadly overthrown
    By a hand guided by a cruel heart,
    165    Whereof as many as shall hear that sadness
    Will blame the one's hard fate, the other's madness;
    Whiles such as do recount that tale of woe,
    Told by remembrance of the wisest heads,
    Will in the end conclude the matter so,
    170  As they will all go weeping to their beds.
    For when the world lies winter'd in the storms
    Of fearful consummation, and lays down
    Th' unsteady change of his fantastic forms,
    Expecting ever to be overthrown;
    175  When the proud height of much affected sin
    Shall ripen to a head, and in that pride
    End in the miseries it did begin
    And fall amidst the glory of his tide;
    Then in a book where every work is writ
    180  Shall this man's actions be reveal'd, to show
    The gainful fruit of well-employed wit,
    Which paid to heaven the debt that it did owe.
    Here shall be reckon'd up the constant faith,
    Never untrue, where once he love profess'd;
    185  Which is a miracle in men, one saith,
    Long sought though rarely found, and he is best
    Who can make friendship, in those times of change,
    Admired more for being firm than strange.
    When those weak houses of our brittle flesh
    190  Shall ruin'd be by death, our grace and strength,
    Youth, memory and shape that made us fresh
    Cast down, and utterly decay'd at length;
    When all shall turn to dust from whence we came
    And we low-level'd in a narrow grave,
    195  What can we leave behind us but a name,
    Which, by a life well led, may honor have?
    Such honor, O thou youth untimely lost,
    Thou didst deserve and hast; for though thy soul
    Hath took her flight to a diviner coast,
    200  Yet here on earth thy fame lives ever whole,
    In every heart seal'd up, in every tongue
    Fit matter to discourse, no day prevented
    That pities not thy sad and sudden wrong,
    Of all alike beloved and lamented.
    205  And I here to thy memorable worth,
    In this last act of friendship, sacrifice
    My love to thee, which I could not set forth
    In any other habit of disguise.
    Although I could not learn, whiles yet thou wert,
    210  To speak the language of a servile breath,
    My truth stole from my tongue into my heart,
    Which shall not thence be sund'red, but in death.
    And I confess my love was too remiss
    That had not made thee know how much I priz'd thee,
    215  But that mine error was, as yet it is,
    To think love best in silence: for I siz'd thee
    By what I would have been, not only ready
    In telling I was thine, but being so,
    By some effect to show it.  He is steady
    220  Who seems less than he is in open show.
    Since then I still reserv'd to try the worst
    Which hardest fate and time thus can lay on me.
    T' enlarge my thoughts was hindered at first,
    While thou hadst life; I took this task upon me,
    225  To register with mine unhappy pen
    Such duties as it owes to thy desert,
    And set thee as a president to men,
    And limn thee to the world but as thou wert-
    Not hir'd, as heaven can witness in my soul,
    230  By vain conceit, to please such ones as know it,
    Nor servile to be lik'd, free from control,
    Which, pain to many men, I do not owe it.
    But here I trust I have discharged now
    (Fair lovely branch too soon cut off) to thee,
    235  My constant and irrefragable vow,
    As, had it chanc'd, thou mightst have done to me-
    But that no merit strong enough of mine
    Had yielded store to thy well-abled quill
    Whereby t'enroll my name, as this of thine,
    240  How s'ere enriched by thy plenteous skill.
    Here, then, I offer up to memory
    The value of my talent, precious man,
    Whereby if thou live to posterity,
    Though't be not as I would, 'tis as I can:
    245    In minds from whence endeavor doth proceed,
    A ready will is taken for the deed.
    Yet ere I take my longest last farewell
    From thee, fair mark of sorrow, let me frame
    Some ampler work of thank, wherein to tell
    250  What more thou didst deserve than in thy name,
    And free thee from the scandal of such senses
    As in the rancor of unhappy spleen
    Measure thy course of life, with false pretenses
    Comparing by thy death what thou hast been.
    255    So in his mischiefs is the world accurs'd:
    It picks out matter to inform the worst.
    The willful blindness that hoodwinks the eyes
    Of men enwrapped in an earthy veil
    Makes them most ignorantly exercise
    260  And yield to humor when it doth assail,
    Whereby the candle and the body's light
    Darkens the inward eyesight of the mind,
    Presuming still it sees, even in the night
    Of that same ignorance which makes them blind.
    265  Hence conster they with corrupt commentaries,
    Proceeding from a nature as corrupt,
    The text of malice, which so often varies
    As 'tis by seeming reason underpropp'd.
    O, whither tends the lamentable spite
    270  Of this world's teenful apprehension,
    Which understands all things amiss, whose light
    Shines not amidst the dark of their dissension?
    True 'tis, this man, whiles yet he was a man,
    Sooth'd not the current of besotted fashion,
    275  Nor could disgest, as some loose mimics can,
    An empty sound of overweening passion,
    So much to be made servant to the base
    And sensual aptness of disunion'd vices,
    To purchase commendation by disgrace,
    280  Whereto the world and heat of sin entices.
    But in a safer contemplation,
    Secure in what he knew, he ever chose
    The ready way to commendation,
    By shunning all invitements strange, of those
    285  Whose illness is, the necessary praise
    Must wait upon their actions; only rare
    In being rare in shame (which strives to raise
    Their name by doing what they do not care),
    As if the free commission of their ill
    290  Were even as boundless as their prompt desires;
    Only like lords, like subjects to their will,
    Which their fond dotage ever more admires.
    He was not so: but in a serious awe,
    Ruling the little ordered commonwealth
    295  Of his own self, with honor to the law
    That gave peace to his bread, bread to his health;
    Which ever he maintain'd in sweet content
    And pleasurable rest, wherein he joy'd
    A monarchy of comfort's government,
    300  Never until his last to be destroy'd.
    For in the Vineyard of heaven-favored learning
    Where he was double-honor'd in degree,
    His observation and discreet discerning
    Had taught him in both fortunes to be free;
    305  Whence now retir'd home, to a home indeed
    The home of his condition and estate,
    He well provided 'gainst the hand of need,
    Whence young men sometime grow unfortunate;
    His disposition, by the bonds of unity,
    310  So fast'ned to his reason that it strove
    With understanding's grave immunity
    To purchase from all hearts a steady love;
    Wherein not any one thing comprehends
    Proportionable note of what he was,
    315  Than that he was so constant to his friends
    As he would no occasion overpass
    Which might make known his unaffected care,
    In all respects of trial, to unlock
    His bosom and his store, which did declare
    320  That Christ was his, and he was Friendship's Rock:
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