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
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.
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.