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To the Memory of
the learned and religious Ferdinando Pulton, Esq

by Sir John Beaumont

As at a joyful marriage, or the birth
Of some long-wished child; or when the earth
Yields plenteous fruit, and makes the ploughman sing;
Such is the sound, and subject of my string:
Ripe age, full virtue need no funeral song;
Here mournful tunes would grace and nature wrong.
Why should vain sorrow follow him with tears,
Who shakes off burdens of declining years?
Whose thread exceeds the usual bounds of life,
And feels no stroke of any fatal knife?
The destinies enjoin their wheels to run,
Until the length of his whole course be spun.
No envious cloud obscures his struggling light,
Which sets contented at the point of night:
Yet this large time no greater profit brings,
Than ev'ry little moment whence it springs;
Unless employ'd in works deserving praise,
Most wear out many years, and live few days.
Time flows from instants, and of these each on
Should be esteem'd, as if it were alone
The shortest space, which we so lightly prize
When it is coming, and before our eyes:
Let it but slide into the eternal main,
No realms, no world can purchase it again:
Remembrance only makes the footsteps last,
When winged time, which fixt the prints, is past.
This he well knowing, all occasions tries
To enrich his own and others' learned eyes.
This noble end, not hope of gain, did draw
His mind to travail in the knotty law;
That was to him by serious labour made
A science, which to many is a trade;
Who purchase lands, build houses by their tongue,
And study right, that they may practise wrong.
His books were is rich purchases; his fees
That praise which fame to painful works decrees:
His mem'ry hath a surer ground than theirs
Who trust in stately tombs or wealthy heirs.


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