Epitaphium Ioannis Moravi (April 1615)

This poem was written to commemorate the death of John Murray, a gentleman of the bedchamber, who died on 11 April 1615. Murray was himself a poet who enjoyed a considerable reputation among his peers but whose work is now largely lost. Gullans (Ayton, pp. 39-40) provides details of his family and the reception of his work, but does not mention the fact that Murray had been imprisoned in the Tower of London. Metre: elegiac couplets.

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Epitaphium Ioannis Moravi

1Huc quicunque venis, disce hoc ex marmore, quam sit
invida virtuti sors et iniqua bonis.
Moravius nulli Musis aut Marte secundus,
post varios casus hac requiescit humo.
5Primum aulae malefida fides, mox carceris horror,
tandem hydrops misero fata suprema tulit.
Hydrops crudelis, carcer crudelior, aula
saeva hydrope magis, carcere saeva magis;
unica mors clemens, quae hydropis, carceris, aulae,
10tot simul et tantas finiit una cruces.

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Epitaph of John Murray

Whoever you are who comes here, learn from this marble tomb how envious fortune is, and how unjust to the good. Murray, second to no-one in either the poetry of the Muses or the wars of Mars, after his varied misfortunes, rests in this tomb. First there was the dishonest faith of the court, then the horrors of prison, and finally dropsy bore the final fate to this miserable man. Dropsy was cruel; prison was crueler; but more savage than dropsy, and more savage than prison was the court. Death alone was kind: with one blow it put an end to the so many and so great torments of dropsy, prison, and the court.