On Death

Original Text: 
Anne Killigrew, Poems (1686). Facs. edn., ed. R. E. Morton (Gainesville, Florida: Scholars, 1967): 13. PR 3539 K3 1686A Robarts Library
1Tell me thou safest End of all our Woe,
2Why wretched Mortals do avoid thee so:
3Thou gentle drier o' th' afflicted Tears,
4Thou noble ender of the Cowards Fears;
5Thou sweet Repose to Lovers sad dispaire,
6Thou Calm t' Ambitions rough Tempstuous Care.
7If in regard of Bliss thou wert a Curse,
8And then the Joys of Paradise art worse;
9Yet after Man from his first Station fell,
10And God from Eden Adam did expel,
11Thou wert no more an Evil, but Relief;
12The Balm and Cure to ev'ry Humane Grief:
13Through thee (what Man had forfeited before)
14He now enjoys, and ne'r can loose it more.
15No subtile Serpents in the Grave betray,
16Worms on the Body there, not Soul do prey;
17No Vice there Tempts, no Terrors there afright,
18No Coz'ning Sin affords a false delight:
19No vain Contentions do that Peace annoy,
20No feirce Alarms break the lasting Joy.
21Such real Good as Life can never know;
22Come when thou wilt, in thy afrighting'st Dress,
23Thy Shape shall never make thy Welcome less.
24Thou mayst to Joy, but ne'er to Fear give Birth,
25Thou Best, as well as Certain'st thing on Earth.
26Fly thee? May Travellers then fly their Rest,
27And hungry Infants fly the profer'd Brest.
28No, those that faint and tremble at thy Name,
29Fly from their Good on a mistaken Fame.
30Thus Childish fear did Israel of old
31From Plenty and the Promis'd Land with-hold;
32They fancy'd Giants, and refus'd to go,
33When Canaan did with Milk and Honey flow.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1996-2000.