Elegy on the Life of Rev. John Rogers of Dedham, Essex

This elegy on the life of John Rogers (abt1572–1636) by “I.L.” was originally published as a broadside in 1642; a copy of it resides in the Luttrell Collection of the British Museum. I quote it from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, April 1887, pp. 186–88. If Rogers died in 1636, it seems unlikely that this 1642 printing was the first edition of the elegy, but it may have been the only one available to the compiler of Rogers documents in that volume of the Register. John Rogers is my tenth-great-grandfather.


Come helpe us mourn good Shepherds all,
  who love Christs flock indeed
Helpe us to beg, pleade, cry & call,
  in this our time of need.


Come weep and mourne, both yong and old,
  your harts to sorrow move
Both Sheepe and Lambs all of his fould
  shew forth your deerest love.


Our joy is gone, our soules delight,
  our blessed sonne of thunder,
Our valiant champion in Gods sight,
  to break sinnes boults in sunder.


Our famous light which lately stood
  on hill within our towne:
Whose beames were spread so farre abroad,
  is now by death tooke downe.


Those lively christall streames so pure,
  with pastures fresh and greene;
From us alas are lock’t full sure,
  and can no more be seen.


Oh mournefull flocke who art deprived
  of such a faithfull guide;
Whose drooping soules he hath reviv’d
  Full many a time and tide.


Our faithfull Moses now is gone,
  Which stood up in the breach;
To stay Gods wrath with many a groane,
  his hands to heaven did stretch.


His life Gods glory did advance,
  his doctrine good and plaine:
And by Gods holy ordinance
  he many a soule did gaine.


No paine nor labour did he spare,
  the hungry soules to feed,
Dividing out each one his share,
  according to their need.


A person grave, a patron rare,
  most humble, godly, wise,
Whose presence made the wicked feare,
  when they beheld his eyes.


His ears were open and attent,
  To heare the poore mans cry:
And speedily his heart was bent,
  to find a remedy.


To rich and poore, to old and yung,
  most courteous, mild and meeke,
The mourning soules he brought along,
  and comforted the weake,


Much comfort heere his soule possest,
  his life fame, and renowne,
And now with Saints and Angels blest,
  he weares a glorious crowne.


Where many a soule is gone before,
  Which he through Christ hath gain’d,
His glory shines as Sunne therefore,
  And never shall be stained.


You pastors all of Christ his fould,
  of soules who have the charge,
See here a patterne to behold,
  Your duties to your charge.


His faith, his love, his godly care,
  his zeale sinne to suppresse:
His pitty showes to such as were,
  in griefe and heavinesse.


His humble heart did soon make peace,
  by arbitration wise,
All jars and strifes he made to cease,
  twixt neighbours that did rise.


But now those ioyfull dayes are gone,
  which made our hearts so glad,
And comfort brought to many one,
  when sorrow made them sad.


Our Zion temple songs do cease,
  our burning shining light
Is gone to everlasting peace,
  and bids us all good night.


Our constant Lector twelve dayes fame,
  and ioy of Saints all round,
To which Gods armies flocking came,
  To heare his doctrine sound.


Gods holy Law and Gospel pure,
  he preach’t with courage bould,
Whereby he many did allure,
  and brought to Christ his fould.


The poore and hungry soules alway,
  with good things he did fill,
The rich, nor any went away,
  Without Gods mind and will.


Most faithfully he preach’t Gods will,
  with wisdome from above,
And left for to direct us still,
  his booke of faith and love.


Gods counsell and the narrow way,
  he clearely did unfold
Without excuse to leave all they,
  That would not be controld.


His proudest foes on every side,
  who sought his deprivation,
He still did overcome their pride,
  by humble conversation.


Against hels force and Satans rage,
  God kept him in his station,
And still preserved him in his old age,
  In Dedhams congregation.


From weeke to weeke, from day to day,
  he cryed in our eares:
And this he did without delay,
  the space of thirty yeeres.


In zeale he was a flaming fire,
  yet humble and discreet,
Which made his chiefest foes admire,
  and swadged their malice great.


They often sought for to prevaile,
  to take away our joy,
To quench our light they did assaile
  our glory to destroy.


But God did guard his choice elect,
  who worthy was through Christ,
From dangers all did him protect,
  and tooke home at last.


The time of life that God him lent,
  was three score yeeres and seven,
The greatest part of which he spent,
  to bring soules into heaven.


Oh happy change and blessed gaine,
  good time for him to die:
Vnhappy we that still remaine
  more sinfull dayes to see.


Yet happy now likewise are they,
  which are in state of grace,
And were so wise that in their dayes,
  with God they made their peace.


Now magnifie the providence,
  of Gods election strong,
That he such dayes by sure defence,
  In mercy did prolong,


And now hold fast with diligence,
  the trueths which you have learn’d
And bring forth fruit with patience,
  that grace may be discern’d.


Those graces learne to imitate,
  in him which shine so bright,
So shalt thou live in happy state,
  and pleasing in Gods sight.


A wife hath lost a heavenly head,
  children a father deare,
A losse to all on every side,
  and to his flocke most neere.


His house a blessed Bethel was,
  and plainely did appeare:
He lived to see his fruits in grace,
  on all his children deare.


But now alas what shall we doe
  Gods anger to revoke,
Our sinfulnesse have brought us to
  This sad and heavy stroake.


Our sleepy formall carelessnesse,
  in hearing of Gods word:
Vnfruitfull barren heartednesse,
  though we with meanes were stored.


All those that have worne out this light,
  and yet remain all darke,
How shall it now their soules affright,
  to weare this cursed marke.


Now let us all repent and pray,
  with zeale and fervency,
That of the Lord obtaine we may,
  some comfort and supply.


Our King and Counsell Lord preserve,
  and all of each degree,
That from his trueth we may not swerve,
  but therein live and die.


That with him that’s gone before,
  a kingdome may obtaine,
And then with Saints for evermore,
  in glory may remaine.


In morning wake with God, and beg his grace,
Offend not his good spirit in any case,
Hang fast on Christ, cleave closse unto his word,
No time forget to weare the christian sword,

Run cheerefully your generall is before,
Our blessed captain Christ hath opened the doore
Got victory against sin, death and hell,
Eternall life for aye with him shall dwell,
Returne my soule, goe foorth unto thy rest,
Strange joyes are gone which cannot be exprest.

© RJO 1995–2022