To The Memory Of My Dear And Ever Honoured Father, Thomas Dudley; Esq. Who Deceased, July 31. 1653. And Of His Age, 77

By Anne Bradstreet

    By duty bound, and not by custome led
    To celebrate the praises of the dead,
    My mournfull mind, sore prest, in trembling verse
    Presents my Lamentations at his Herse,
    Who was my Father, Guide, Instructor too,
    To whom I ought whatever I could doe:
    Nor is’t Relation near my hand shall tye;
    For who more cause to boast his worth then I?
    Who heard or saw, observ’d or knew him better?
    Or who alive then I, a greater debtor?
    Let malice bite, and envy knaw its fill,
    He was my Father, and Ile praise him still.
    Nor was his name, or life lead so obscure
    That pitty might some Trumpeters procure.
    Who after death might make him falsly seem
    Such as in life, no man could justly deem.
    Well known and lov’d, where ere he liv’d, by most
    Both in his native, and in foreign coast,
    These to the world his merits could make known,
    So needs no Testimonial from his own;
    But now or never I must pay my Sum;
    While others tell his worth, I’le not be dumb:
    One of thy Founders, him New-England know,
    Who staid thy feeble sides when thou wast low.
    Who spent his state, his strength, & years with care
    That After-comers in them might have share,
    True Patriot of this little Commonweal,
    Who is’t can tax thee ought, but for thy zeal?
    Truths friend thou wert, to errors still a foe,
    Which caus’d Apostates to maligne so.
    Thy love to true Religion e’re shall shine,
    My Fathers God, be God of me and mine,
    Upon the earth he did not build his nest,
    But as a Pilgrim what he had, possest,
    High thoughts he gave no harbour in his heart,
    Nor honours pufft him up, when he had part:
    Those titles loath’d, which some too much do love
    For truly his ambition lay above.
    His humble mind so lov’d humility,
    He left it to his race for Legacy:
    And oft and oft, with speeches mild and wise,
    Gave his in charge, that Jewel rich to prize.
    No ostentation seen in all his wayes,
    As in the mean ones, of our foolish dayes,
    Which all they have, and more still set to view,
    Their greatness may be judg’d by what they shew.
    His thoughts were more sublime, his actions wise,
    Such vanityes he justly did despise.
    Nor wonder ’twas, low things ne’r much did move
    For he a Mansion had, prepar’d above,
    For which he sigh’d and pray’d & long’d full sore
    He might be cloath’d upon, for evermore.
    Oft spake of death, and with a smiling chear,
    He did exult his end was drawing near,
    Now fully ripe, as shock of wheat that’s grown,
    Death as a Sickle hath him timely mown,
    And in celestial Barn hath hous’d him high,
    Where storms, nor showrs, nor ought can damnifie.
    His Generation serv’d his labours cease;
    And to his Fathers gathered is in peace.
    Ah happy Soul, ‘mongst Saints and Angels blest,
    Who after all his toyle, is now at rest:
    His hoary head in righteousness was found;
    As joy in heaven on earth let praise resound.
    Forgotten never be his memory,
    His blessing rest on his posterity:
    His pious Footsteps followed by his race,
    At last will bring us to that happy place
    Where we with joy each other’s face shall see,
    And parted more by death shall never be.

His Epitaph.

    Within this Tomb a Patriot lyes
    That was both pious, just and wise,
    To Truth a shield, to right a Wall,
    To Sectaryes a whip and Maul,
    A Magazine of History,
    A Prizer of good Company
    In manners pleasant and severe
    The Good him lov’d, the bad did fear,
    And when his time with years was spent
    If some rejoyc’d, more did lament.

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