Изображения страниц

Beholds her Maker, and in Him doth see
What the beginnings of all beauties be;
And all beatitudes that thence do flow,
Which they that have the crown are sure to


Go now, her happy parents, and be sad

you not understand what child
you had.
If you dare grudge at heaven, and repent
T' have paid again a blessing was but lent,
And trusted so, as it deposited lay
At pleasure, to be called for every day!
If you can envy your own daughter's bliss,
And wish her state less happy than it is;
If you can cast about your either eye,
And see all dead here, or about to die!
The stars, that are the jewels of the night,
And day, deceasing with the prince of light,
The sun, great kings, and mightiest kingdoms

Whole nations, nay, mankind, the world, with all
That ever had beginning there, t' have end!
With what injustice should one soul pretend
T'escape this common known necessity?
When we were all born, we began to die;
And, but for that contention and brave strife,
The Christian hath t' enjoy the future life,

le were the wretched'st of the race of men;
But as he soars at that, he bruiseth then
The serpent's head; gets above death, and sin,
And, sure of heaven, rides triumphing in.


Left to posterity of that truly noble lady, the LADY VENETIA DIGBY, 129 late wife of SIR KENELM DIGBY, Knt., a gentleman absolute in all numbers..

[blocks in formation]


Fair Fame, who art ordained to crown,
With ever green and great renown,

129 See ante, p. 284. This lady was a daughter of Sir Edward Stanley, of Tongue Castle, Shropshire. She was exquisitely beautiful, and Aubrey tells us that, "being matura viro, she was left by her father to live with a tenant and servants at Enston Abbey, in Oxfordshire; but, as private as that place was, it seems her beauty could not lie hid." The fame of her charms soon reached the ears of the gallant and munificent Earl of Dorset, who made no delay in urging his suit. "I have now forgot," continues Aubrey, "who first brought her to town, but I have heard my uncle Danvers, who was her contemporary, say that she was so commonly courted, and that by grandees, that 'twas written over her lodging one night in literis uncialibus,

"Pray come not near,

For Dame Venetia Stanley liveth here."

Lord Dorset eventually became her "greatest gallant," had several children by her, and settled on her an annuity of £500 a year. It was during this period she was seen by Sir Kenelm Digby, who fell in love with her, and married her, against the will of his mother. Whatever may have been the

Their heads that Envy would hold down
With her, in shade

Of death and darkness; and deprive
Their names of being kept alive,

By thee and conscience, both who thrive
By the just trade

Of goodness still: vouchsafe to take
This cradle, and, for goodness' sake,
A dedicated ensign make

Thereof to Time;

That all posterity, as we,

Who read what the Crepundia be,
May something by that twilight see
'Bove rattling rhyme.

For though that rattles, timbrels, toys,
Take little infants with their noise,
As properest gifts to girls and boys,
Of light expense;

Their corals, whistles, and prime coats,
Their painted masks, their paper boats,
With sails of silk, as the first notes

Surprise their sense.

life of Lady Digby before marriage, her conduct afterwards was irreproachable. Her exemplary actions, even more than her beauty, are testified in the elegiac tributes of Jonson, Habington, Randolph, and Feltham. She expired suddenly, and was found dead in her bed, with her head resting on her hand.-B.

Yet here are no such trifles brought,

No cobweb cauls, no surcoats wrought

With gold, or clasps, which might be bought On every stall;

But here's a song of her descent;
And call to the high parliament
Of heaven; where seraphim take tent
Of ordering all.

This uttered by an ancient bard,

Who claims, of reverence, to be heard :
As coming with his harp prepared
To chant her 'gree,

Is sung as als' her getting up,
By Jacob's ladder, to the top
Of that eternal port, kept ope
For such as she.


I sing the just and uncontrolled descent
Of dame Venetia Digby, styled the fair:
For mind and body the most excellent
That ever nature, or the later air,
Gave two such houses as Northumberland
And Stanley, to the which she was co-heir.
Speak it, you bold Penates! you that stand

At either stem, and know the veins of good Run from your roots; tell, testify the grand

Meeting of Graces, that so swelled the flood

Of virtues in her, as, in short, she grew

The wonder of her sex, and of your blood. And tell thou, Alde-leyh, none can tell more true, Thy niece's line, than thou that gav'st thy


Into the kindred, whence thy Adam drew
Meschine's honor, with the Cestrian fame
Of the first Lupus, to the family

By Ranulph

[The rest of this song is lost.]


Sitting, and ready to be drawn,

What make these velvets, silks, and lawn,
Embroideries, feathers, fringes, lace,
Where every limb takes like a face?

Send these suspected helps to aid
Some form defective, or decayed;
This beauty, without falsehood fair,
Needs naught to clothe it but the air.

Yet something to the painter's view
Were fitly interposed; so new:
He shall, if he can understand,
Work with my fancy, his own hand.

Draw first a cloud, all save her neck,
And out of that make day to break;
Till like her face it do appear,

And men may think all light rose there.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »