Cou'd Rivers weep (as somtimes Poets dream)


Upon the Death of Sir William Twisden

Primary Text:

MS Folger, 229-32*.

Secondary Ed:

1903 Reynolds prints Folger text, 61-67; rpt of 1903 Reynolds: 1930 Fausset 34-9.


William Twisden was a grandson of Anne Finch Twysden, daughter to Sir Moyle and Elizabeth Heneage Finch, and was thus a distant cousin to Heneage; his father, Sir Roger Twysden, had been a much-admired member of the gentry who managed to remain on good sides of everyone during Civil War and Interregnum. Since in the Folger a final passage has been obliterated, the implicit royalism of the elegy is muted; the dreaming poet is Milton of Lycidas, and Spenser's elegy on Sir Philip Sidney is alluded to in her note (Twisden a "second Astrophel". Beautiful, sensitive elegy from a "sad awaken'd heart" who laments her own and her country's loss of the old "Traditions . . . Of great, and of Illustrious Men." This poem has great beauty. She has a wonderful way of suggesting vast distances through the very concision of the couplet and general nouns. This anticipates Pope.


After November 27, 1696, date of Sir Wm's death.
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