Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0186. Friday, 8 March 1996.
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Friday, March 8, 1996
Subject: New on the SHAKSPER Fileserver: Foster's Edited Version of FE
As of today, SHAKSPEReans may retrieve Don Foster's edited text of "A Funeral
Elegy." (FUNERAL ELEGY) from the SHAKSPER Fileserver. What had been made
available previously was an archive-copy in which all ellisions have been
expanded, and substantive errors have been introduced.
To retrieve "A Funeral Elegy," send a one-line mail message (without a subject
, reading "GET FUNERAL ELEGY".
Should you have difficulty receiving this or any of the files on the SHAKSPER
Fileserver, please contact the editor at <
PS: There is still a problem that affects some addresses -- my own included --
that causes mail sent to
to "loop" and be rejected
because of an excess of "hops." Should your request for this file generate such
an error, please use the following address:
W[illiam] S[hakespeare], "A Funeral Elegy." Edited by Donald W. Foster from
W.S., A Funerall Elegye in memory of the late vertuous Maister William Peeter
(London: G. Eld for T. Thorpe, 1612). [4,600 words.] Common nouns
capitalized and italicized in Q are here capitalized but not italicized;
italicized quotations in Q are rendered in quotation marks.
Participial endings and ellisions may be normalized for use with a private
text archive. DWF (1/15/96)
TO MASTER JOHN PETER
of Bowhay in Devon, Esquire.
The love I bore to your brother, and will do to his memory, hath
crav'd from me this last duty of a friend; I am herein but a
second to the privilege of Truth, who can warrant more in his
behalf than I undertook to deliver. Exercise in this kind I will
little affect, and am less addicted to, but there must be miracle
in that labor which, to witness my remembrance to this departed
gentleman, I would not willingly undergo. Yet whatsoever is here
done, is done to him, and to him only. For whom and whose sake I
will not forget to remember any friendly respects to you, or to
any of those that have lov'd him for himself, and himself for his
A FUNERAL ELEGY
Since Time, and his predestinated end,
Abridg'd the circuit of his hopeful days,
Whiles both his Youth and Virtue did intend
The good endeavors of deserving praise,
5 What memorable monument can last
Whereon to build his never-blemish'd name
But his own worth, wherein his life was grac'd-
Sith as [that] ever he maintain'd the same?
Oblivion in the darkest day to come,
10 When sin shall tread on merit in the dust,
Cannot rase out the lamentable tomb
Of his short-liv'd deserts; but still they must,
Even in the hearts and memories of men,
Claim fit Respect, that they, in every limb
15 Rememb'ring what he was, with comfort then
May pattern out one truly good, by him.
For he was truly good, if honest care
Of harmless conversation may commend
A life free from such stains as follies are,
20 Ill recompensed only in his end.
Nor can the tongue of him who lov'd him least
(If there can be minority of love
To one superlative above the rest
Of many men in steady faith) reprove
25 His constant temper, in the equal weight
Of thankfulness and kindness: Truth doth leave
Sufficient proof, he was in every right
As kind to give, as thankful to receive.
The curious eye of a quick-brain'd survey
30 Could scantly find a mote amidst the sun
Of his too-short'ned days, or make a prey
Of any faulty errors he had done-
Not that he was above the spleenful sense
And spite of malice, but for that he had
35 Warrant enough in his own innocence
Against the sting of some in nature bad.
Yet who is he so absolutely blest
That lives encompass'd in a mortal frame,
Sometime in reputation not oppress'd
40 By some in nothing famous but defame?
Such in the By-path and the Ridgeway lurk
That leads to ruin, in a smooth pretense
Of what they do to be a special work
Of singleness, not tending to offense;
45 Whose very virtues are, not to detract
Whiles hope remains of gain (base fee of slaves),
Despising chiefly men in fortunes wrack'd-
But death to such gives unrememb'red graves.
Now therein liv'd he happy, if to be
50 Free from detraction happiness it be.