Primary Resource

"Mr Strachie's Harke"

Toward the end of his life, while living in London in poverty, William Strachey wrote poetry on the subject of death, the following three verses of which survive. Strachey had previously served as secretary to the Virginia colony in Jamestown. Some spelling has been modernized and contractions expanded.

Transcription from Original

  • Harke! Twas the trump of death that blewe
  • My hower is come false world adewe
  • That I to death untymely goe.
  • Thy pleasures have betrayed me soe
  • For Death's the punishment of sinn
  • And of all creatures I have bene
  • The most ungratefull wicked one
  • That ere the heavens did shine vpon.
  • Harke! I have sinnd against Earth & heaven
  • Early by date late in the even
  • All manner sinnes all manner wayes
  • I have committed in my daies
  • Hell and hell fire is my due
  • O but deare Christe I humbly sue
  • Thy blood may wash my red sowle white
  • Mercy not Judgment is thy delight.
  • Harke! at which mercy gate I knocke
  • Let sobbes & sighes the same unlocke
  • Prostrate I fall & begg for grace
  • O doe not turne away thy face
  • my cryinge sinnes beate at thy Throane
  • Once bowe the heavens looke downe upon
  • A wretch more overthrowne then greefe
  • That beggs for mercy not for life.


W: Strachie.