To the Memory of a Shipwrecked Virgin

Whether thy well-shaped parts, now scattered far
Asunder, into treasure parted are;
Whether thy tresses, now to amber grown,
Still cast a softer day where they are shown;
Whether those eyes be diamonds now, or make
The careful Goddess of the Floods mistake,
Chiding their ling’ring stay, as if they were
Stars that forgot t’ ascend unto their sphere;
Whether thy lips do into coral grow,
Making her wonder how ‘t came red below;
Whether those orders of thy teeth, now sown
In several pearls, enrich each channel one;
Whether thy gentle breath in easy gales
Now flies, and chastely fills the pregnant sails;
Or whether whole, turned Siren, thou dost joy
Only to sing, unwilling to destroy;
Or else, a nymph far fairer, dost increase
The virgin train of the Nereides, –
If that all sense departed not with breath,
And there is yet some memory in death,
Accept this labour, sacred to thy fame,
Swelling with thee, made poem by their name …

William Cartwright, ‘To the Memory of a Shipwrecked Virgin’ (1651), first half

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