EPICEDIVM, A Funerall Song, vpon the vertuous life, and godly death, of the right vvorshipfull the Lady Helen Branch.

Virtus sola manet, caetera cuncta ruunt.

LONDON Printed by Thomas Creede. 1594.

EPICEDIVM, In obitum illustrissimae mulieris dominae Helenae Branch, vxoris multum venerandi equitis Iohannis Branch, quondam pernobilis ciuitatis Londini Maioris per­quam honorabilis.

YOu that to shew your wits haue taken toyle,
In registring the deeds of noble men:
And sought for matter in a forraine soyle,
(As worthie subiects of your siluer pen)
Whom you haue rais'd from darke obliuions den.
You that haue writ of chaste Lucretia,
Whose death was witnesse of her spotlesse life:
Or pend the praise of sad Cornelia,
Whose blamelesse name hath made her fame so rife:
As noble Pompeys most renoumed wife.
Hither vnto your home direct your eies:
Whereas vnthought on, much more matter lies.
Matter that well deserues your golden stile,
And substance that will fit your shadowes right,
Whereon his wits a Scholler well may file:
Whereof a Poet needs not blush to write,
When strangers cau [...]s should be banisht quite.
And this bright Comet▪ of whose splendant raies,
My too-vnworthie pen shall giue a sight,
A Ladie was of whose deserued praise
A farre more learned Artist ought to write:
Lesse wits should speake of starres of lesser light.
Yet since their waies, by her light many finde,
I (mongst the rest) may shew my thankfull minde.
When first her life gaue essence to her light,
She was the daughter of a worthie fire,
And Willi [...]m Nicolson his name it hight:
To whom dame Fortune gaue his hearts desire,
Rich, and yet free from haut ambitions fire:
Yea double rich by such an ofspring faire,
Who from her cradle, and yoong infancie
Gaue certaine augures of her vertues rare,
And what a matron she in time would be:
Her seemely graces wrought her fathers glee.
And for her beautie he gaue her the name
Of her, whom Troy did make so much of fame.
Only her face vnto her name was like,
Her vertues rather shone like Phoebes pride,
Or her whose shaft did rash Acteon strike,
When from his light her selfe she sought to hide.
Well might she vaunt of Iudiths wit beside,
Nor was Pollixena so much admir'de
For maydens blush, and seemely modestie:
Nor faire Virginia halfe so much desir'de
For comely grace, and ciuill curtesie:
As she was praisde of high and low degree.
As hard it was her constancy to moue,
As Cleopatra from Anthonius loue.
And thus she liu'd (whiles she a mayd did liue)
Till fathers care, and maydens ripened yeares,
Did to a worthie man as wife her giue:
Like taketh like, all ages ch [...]ose their peeres,
And now do end her parents cares, and feares:
For as her life did make them happie deem'd,
And as her blisse did make to thriue their ioyes,
So by her losse they had vnhappie seem'd,
And her mishaps had fram'd their dyre annoyes:
The husbandman his fields for corne imployes.
And happie he, who from his happie seed,
Doth reape a great grandfathers name, for meed.
Iohn Mynors was her louing husband cald,
Who blest her aged parents by his sonne:
And with three daughters more their ioyes enstald:
(But foule oft falles, vvhen faire is vvell begun)
For long these liu'd not but their glasse vvas run.
We daily see vvhen Phoebus in the skie
Is highest mounted, straight he gins descend:
And vvhen good-haps do sit so vvondrous high,
They must decline (although not haue an end)
For each extreame, of force must paire, or mend.
Tis better alvvaies bide calamitie,
Then once feele, ioyes and then taste miserie.
They gone, vvith them vvas gone the fathers blisse,
And with his blisse, the mothers comfort goes:
And vvith her comfort vvent her husbands misse,
And by his misse, increast her treble vvoes.
On vvhat vvorlds prop, may man his trust repose?
The yoonger grasse doth vvither ere the hay,
The stronger flieth, and leaues the vveake behinde,
The childes life ere the fathers flits avvay,
The husband dies, ere vvife hath death assignde,
Daughters sonne, husband dead, she life doth finde.
Yet dide her ioyes: the mirth vvhich she could haue,
Was vvith her teares, to vvash their thirstie graue.
Novv (like to her vvho drunke her husbands dust)
She for her husband, lou'd her husbands trade,
A Chronicle of vvhich needs be they must,
VVho by that loue full vvealthy haue bene made:
The vvitnesse liues, the fame then cannot fade.
And like to them vvho do adopt successors)
She, for her children, did regard the poore,
Of vvhom there liue, that may be iust professors,
VVho oft haue bene relieued at her doore,
Nor this vvas all, for they haue had much more▪
For Christ his vvill she executed faithfully,
Prison'd, sicke, naked, poore, she gaue his legacie.
And thus she liu'd (whilst widow she did liue,)
Till husbands death, and widowes dried teares
Were almost out of minde, and griefe did giue
A place vnto the course of some spent yeares.
(Vnwise whose house doth fall and no new reares,)
Then was she grafted in a worthie stemme,
And of a green-leau'd Branch the blossome prou'd
To him more deare, then was the richest gemme:
And so togither they both liu'd and lou'd,
And still her Orphanes care the mother mou'd.
For though nor Branch, nor blossome frute did beare,
Yet both in good workes alwaies fruitfull were.
In time this Branch so farre abroad did spread,
That ouer London it did cast his shade:
(A neast where many vertuous birds are bred)
Of whom, some on this Branch their neasts haue made:
Long flourish may his leaues, and neuer fade.
And though the stocke, the Branch, the blossom sweete
Wants sap, is withered, and is falne away,
Yet doth a yoong plant, spring vp at their feete,
Which shall their greene leaues vp in safetie laie,
And they vnscattered, maugre blasts shall staie.
Yea from the roote, the iuyce this plant hath gotten,
Shall make them flourish, when their roote is rotten.
The Branch being dead, the blossome gan to droupe,
Like to a parcht flower in the dogdayes rage:
The [...]hepheard fled, toth' wolfe the lambs must stoupe,
Youths heate being past, there's small resist in age:
And now no comfort could her cares asswage.
Yet still in vertuous deeds she spent her daies,
Poore virgins thereof still can make report,
Those naked persons well may tell her praise,
Whom she hath cloathed in a seemely so [...]t:
(Surely a treasure laid in a strongest [...]o [...]t)
But now hath death cut off her ve [...]tues prime,
In ripened haruest of her golden time.
Her faithfull end, was like her godly life,
Wedn'sday the tenth of Aprill, and no more
It was, when as was seene her breaths last strife:
The yeare was fifteene hundreth, ninetie foure,
And gratefull Abchurch hath her bones in store.
You two strong props that vndershore the vine,
From whose ripe clusters sweetest Nectar flowes,
Whereof do drinke, the famous Muses nine,
Performe more full, what dutie doth impose,
Bring hither Cypres sad, see where it growes.
Embalme with Mirrhe, and sticke with Rosemarie,
Time is the onely hearbe which rests for me.
Quae te propellat (nimium propensa)
Cura mors? O te properans veloci
Penna quis turbet? Dare terga cogat
Quod medicamen?
Aequè tu regis deruis superbi
Regias, & sic inopum cucumas.
Cura sunt morti iuuenes senes (que)
Semper eadem.
Sola post mortem, remanet in aeuum
Virtus, quae nunquam peritura probis,
Fama florescet, licet ipsa cumbunt
Corpora in vrnis.
W. Har.

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