From The Epitaph Of John Ray
John Ray, Master of Arts.
Once Fellow of Trinity College in Cambridge.
A member of the Royal Society in London:
And to both of those learned bodies
An illustrious Ornament.
Hid in this narrow tomb, this marble span,
Lies all that death could snatch from this great man.
His body moulders in its native clay;
While o’er wide worlds his Works their beams display
As bright and everlasting as the day.
To those just fame ascribes immortal breath,
And in his Writings he outlives his death.
Of every Science every part he knew,
Read in all Arts divine and human too:
Like Solomon (and Solomon alone
We as a greater King of knowledge own)
Our modern Sage dark Nature’s Secrets read
From the tall Cedar to the hyssop’s bed:
From the unwieldiest Beast of land or deep,
To the least Insect that has power to creep.
Nor did his artful labours only shew
Those plants which on the earth’s wide surface grew,
But piercing ev’n her darkest entrails through,
All that was wise, all that was great he knew,
And Nature’s inmost gloom made clear to common view.
From foreign stores his learning bright supplies,
Exposing treasures hid from others’ eyes,
Loading his single mind to make his country wise.