Francis Beaumont (1584-1616)

On the Tombs in Westminster Abbey

Mortality, behold and fear  
What a change of flesh is here!                 
Think how many royal bones                   
Sleep within these heaps of stones;          
Here they lie, had realms and lands,                  
Who now want strength to stir their hands,                   
Where from their pulpits seal’d with dust 
They preach, “In greatness is no trust.”    
Here’s an acre sown indeed
With the richest royallest seed                    
That the earth did e’er suck in                  
Since the first man died for sin:                
Here the bones of birth have cried,          
“Though gods they were, as men they died!”                 
Here are sands, ignoble things,                   
Dropt from the ruin’d sides of kings:       
Here’s a world of pomp and state            
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.

Now fie on foolish love, it not befits
Or man or woman know it.
Love was not meant for people in their wits,
And they that fondly show it
Betray the straw, and features in their brain,
And shall have Bedlam for their pain:
If simple love be such a curse,
To marry is to make it ten times worse.

On the Marriage of a Beauteous Young Gentlewoman with an Ancient Man

Fondly, too curious Nature, to adorn
Aurora with the blushes of the morn:
Why do her rosy lips breathe gums and spice;
Unto the East, and sweet to Paradise?

Why do her eyes open the day? her hand
And voice intrance the panther, and command
Incensed winds; her breasts, the tents of love,
Smooth as the godded swan, or Venus’ dove;

Soft as the balmy dew whose every touch
Is pregnant; but why those rich spoils, when such
Wonder and perfection must be led
A bridal captive unto Tithon’s bed?

Ag’d, and deformed Tithon! must thy twine
Circle and blast at once what care and time
Had made for wonder? must pure beauty have
No other foil but ruin and a grave?

So have I seen the pride of Nature’s store,
The orient pearl chained to the sooty Moor;
So hath the diamond’s bright ray been set
In night, and wedded to the negro jet.

See, see, how thick those showers of pearl do fall
To weep her ransom, or her funeral,
Whose every treasured drop, congealed, might bring,
Freedom and ransom to a fettered kin,

While tyrant Wealth stands by, and laughs to see
How he can wed love and antipathy.
Hymen, thy pine burns with adulterate fire;
Thou and thy quivered boy did once conspire

To mingle equal flames, and then no shine
Of gold, but beauty, dressed the Paphian shrine;
Roses and lilies kiss’d; the amorous vine
Did with the fair and straight-limb’d elm entwine.