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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

The Shrouding of the Duchess of Malfi

John Webster (c. 1580–1634)

HARK! Now everything is still,

The screech-owl and the whistler shrill,

Call upon our dame aloud,

And bid her quickly don her shroud!

Much you had of land and rent;

Your length in clay’s now competent:

A long war disturb’d your mind;

Here your perfect peace is sign’d.

Of what is’t fools make such vain keeping?

Sin their conception, their birth weeping,

Their life a general mist of error,

Their death a hideous storm of terror.

Strew your hair with powders sweet,

Don clean linen, bathe your feet,

And—the foul fiend more to check—

A crucifix let bless your neck:

’Tis now full tide ’tween night and day;

End your groan and come away.