Archive for January 4th, 2023

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Lines 1-22 of “Effusions on the Death of the Noble and Well-born Lady Jane, Widow and Relict of the late Magnificent and Noble Lord, Edward Kelley of Imany, Golden Knight and Counsellor to His Holy Imperial Majesty, by the weeping daughter of her beloved and esteemed Mother” by Elizabeth Jane Weston

No one who has not been touched by it can speak
of the force and power of insatiable Death.
Indeed I would have thought it raged through bodies only
and could not wound the spirit with its darts;
but the reality teaches me far otherwise, and makes me speak
as one who has been wounded and is experienced.
Death’s savagery is wont to be greater against the inner mind,
lesser against the members of the body.
When it has overwhelmed the latter and transfixed it
with a sharp missile, there is no room for more wounds;
but I know not to how many torments the mind is subject.
In how many ways can Death overwhelm the heart’s senses?
For however many of your dear kinsmen it extinguishes,
however many friends it causes to perish in death,
so many wounds it inflicts on you, or as it were directly
on your heart, so often it destroys you with its torments.
Life is not taken away when it strikes but is reserved
for more ills, and Death holds off for new wounds.
And these are so hard to bear, that if he could be spared them
anyone would wish to suffer Death’s ultimate weapons.
I myself who could have borne death’s bit in my heart
find remembering death more bitter than death itself.

From: Weston, Elizabeth Jane; Cheney, Donald and Hosington, Brenda M. (eds. and transls.), Elizabeth Jane Weston: Collected Writings, 2000, University of Toronto Press: Toronto, p. 337.

Date: 1606

By: Elizabeth Jane Weston (1581-1612)