The hap of kings

The last of my three shares of Charles Best the Elizabethan and Jacobean poet, who was born in 1570 and died in 1627, are two short epigraphs; an epitaph generally is a phrase, or a short piece, written in memory of a person, and quite often is an inscription on a tombstone. However, these short verses about Henry IV of France, 1553-1610, and the English queen, Elizabeth I, 1533-1603, are interesting, rather than being memorable for their poetic worth:

Epitaph on Henry the Fourth, the Last French King

That we should more bewail the hap of kings,
Great Henry Bourbon’s death occasion brings:
To Henry Valois next crowned king of France,
Next both in blood, in name, in reign, in chance.
Perils, his youth; wars, did his manhood spend,
His old age, peace, till murder his life did end:
His conquests, glory; his wisdom, peace did win,
His faith, Heaven; Christ, pardon for his sin.
Epitaph on Queen Elizabeth
Eliza, that great maiden Queen, lies here,
Who governed England four and forty year;
Our coins refined in; Ireland tamed; Belgia protected;
Friended France; foiled Spain; and Pope rejected:
Princes found her powerful; the world virtuous:
Her subjects wise and just; and God religious:
God hath her soul, the world her admiration,
Subjects her good deeds, Princes her imitation.
by Charles Best

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