You that can tune your sounding strings so well,
Of ladies’ beauties, and of love to tell,
Once change your note, and let your lute report
The justest grief that ever touch’d the Court.
Fair nymph! I have in your delights no share,
Nor ought to be concerned in your care;
Yet would I sing if I your sorrows knew,
And to my aid invoke no Muse but you.
Hear then, and let your song augment our grief,
Which is so great as not to wish relief.
She that had all which Nature gives, or Chance,
Whom Fortune join’d with Virtue to advance
To all the joys this island could afford,
The greatest mistress, and the kindest lord;
Who with the royal mix’d her noble blood,
And in high grace with Gloriana stood; 20
Her bounty, sweetness, beauty, goodness, such,
That none e’er thought her happiness too much;
So well-inclined her favours to confer,
And kind to all, as Heaven had been to her!
The virgin’s part, the mother, and the wife,
So well she acted in this span of life,
That though few years (too flew, alas!) she told,
She seem’d in all things, but in beauty, old.
As unripe fruit, whose verdant stalks do cleave
Close to the tree, which grieves no less to leave 30
The smiling pendant which adorns her so,
And until autumn on the bough should grow;
So seem’d her youthful soul not eas’ly forced,
Or from so fair, so sweet a seat divorced.
Her fate at once did hasty seem and slow;
At once too cruel, and unwilling too.
Under how hard a law are mortals born!
Whom now we envy, we anon must mourn;
What Heaven sets highest, and seems most to prize,
Is soon removed from our wond’ring eyes!
But since the Sisters did so soon untwine
So fair a thread, I’ll strive to piece the line.
Vouchsafe, sad nymph! to let me know the dame,
And to the Muses I’ll commend her name;
Make the wide country echo to your moan,
The list’ning trees and savage mountains groan.
What rock’s not moved when the death is sung
Of one so good, so lovely, and so young?
’Twas Hamilton!—whom I had named
But naming her, grief lets me say no more. 50
 ‘Galatea’: the lady here mourned
was the Duchess of Hamilton, a
niece of Buckingham; she died in 1638.
 ‘Gloriana’: Queen Henrietta.  ‘Sisters’: Parcae—