Sunday 17 October 2010

Two dust poems by Sir Walter Raleigh and Anon


Even such is Time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have;
And pays us but with age and dust,
Which in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days:

And from which earth, and grave, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust.

Sir Walter Raleigh (?1552-1618)
(The final couplet may be a later addition)


Kind angels watch this fleeping dust
Til Jesus comes to raise the just
Then may they awake in fweet furprise
And in their faviour's image rise

(Transcribed by me from a grave in the churchyard, Beltingham, Northumberland.I have used 'f' to represent the long 's'.)

(Variant of final couplet: Then she'll awake in sweet surprise/ To meet her saviour in the skies. From Malahide Township, Elgin County, Ontario)


I find these almost equally moving - although Raleigh's is near-flawless and pure poetry, while the Anonymous epitaph is (fittingly) somewhat rough hewn and achieves an almost accidental poetry.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Raleigh is an underrated poet. I love the first couple of stanzas of "His Pilgrimage".

"My soul will be a-dry before / But after it will thirst no more."