Here you will find the Long Poem Exequy on his Wife of poet Henry King
ACCEPT, thou shrine of my dead saint, Instead of dirges this complaint; And for sweet flowers to crown thy herse Receive a strew of weeping verse From thy grieved friend, whom thou might'st see Quite melted into tears for thee. Dear loss! since thy untimely fate, My task hath been to meditate On thee, on thee! Thou art the book, The library whereon I look, Tho' almost blind. For thee, loved clay, I languish out, not live, the day.... Thou hast benighted me; thy set This eve of blackness did beget, Who wast my day (tho' overcast Before thou hadst thy noontide past): And I remember must in tears Thou scarce hadst seen so many years As day tells hours. By thy clear sun My love and fortune first did run; But thou wilt never more appear Folded within my hemisphere, Since both thy light and motion, Like a fled star, is fall'n and gone, And 'twixt me and my soul's dear wish The earth now interposed is.... I could allow thee for a time To darken me and my sad clime; Were it a month, a year, or ten, I would thy exile live till then, And all that space my mirth adjourn-- So thou wouldst promise to return, And putting off thy ashy shroud At length disperse this sorrow's cloud. But woe is me! the longest date Too narrow is to calculate These empty hopes: never shall I Be so much blest as to descry A glimpse of thee, till that day come Which shall the earth to cinders doom, And a fierce fever must calcine The body of this world--like thine, My little world! That fit of fire Once off, our bodies shall aspire To our souls' bliss: then we shall rise And view ourselves with clearer eyes In that calm region where no night Can hide us from each other's sight. Meantime thou hast her, earth: much good May my harm do thee! Since it stood With Heaven's will I might not call Her longer mine, I give thee all My short-lived right and interest In her whom living I loved best. Be kind to her, and prithee look Thou write into thy Doomsday book Each parcel of this rarity Which in thy casket shrined doth lie, As thou wilt answer Him that lent-- Not gave--thee my dear monument. So close the ground, and 'bout her shade Black curtains draw: my bride is laid. Sleep on, my Love, in thy cold bed Never to be disquieted! My last good-night! Thou wilt not wake Till I thy fate shall overtake: Till age, or grief, or sickness must Marry my body to that dust It so much loves; and fill the room My heart keeps empty in thy tomb. Stay for me there: I will not fail To meet thee in that hollow vale. And think not much of my delay: I am already on the way, And follow thee with all the speed Desire can make, or sorrows breed. Each minute is a short degree And every hour a step towards thee.... 'Tis true--with shame and grief I yield-- Thou, like the van, first took'st the field; And gotten hast the victory In thus adventuring to die Before me, whose more years might crave A just precedence in the grave. But hark! my pulse, like a soft drum, Beats my approach, tells thee I come; And slow howe'er my marches be I shall at last sit down by thee. The thought of this bids me go on And wait my dissolution With hope and comfort. Dear--forgive The crime--I am content to live Divided, with but half a heart, Till we shall meet and never part.