Saturday, November 28, 2009


The Life of Man

Henry King, Sic Vita:
Like to the falling of a star;
Or as the flights of eagles are;
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue;
Or silver drops of morning dew;

Or like the wind that chafes the flood;
Or bubbles which on water stood:
Even such is man, whose borrow'd light
Is straight call'd in and paid to night.

The wind blows out; the bubble dies;
The spring entombed in autumn lies;
The dew dries up; the star is shot;
The flight is past; and man forgot.
Henry King, The Dirge:
What is th' existence of Man's life
But open war, or slumber'd strife?
Where sickness to his sense presents
The combat of the elements:
And never feels a perfect peace,
Till Death's cold hand signs his release.

It is a storm, where the hot blood
Outvies in rage the boiling flood;
And each loud passion of the mind
Is like a furious gust of wind,
Which beats his bark with many a wave,
Till he casts anchor in the grave.

It is a flower, which buds and grows,
And withers as the leaves disclose;
Whose spring and fall faint seasons keep,
Like fits of waking before sleep:
Then shrinks into that fatal mould,
Where its first being was enroll'd.

It is a dream, whose seeming truth
Is moraliz'd in age and youth:
Where all the comforts he can share
As wand'ring as his fancies are;
Till in a mist of dark decay
The dreamer vanish quite away.

It is a dial, which points out
The sun-set as it moves about:
And shadows out in lines of night
The subtile stages of Time's flight,
Till all obscuring earth hath laid
The body in perpetual shade.

It is a weary interlude
Which doth short joys, long woes include.
The World the stage, the Prologue tears,
The Acts vain hope, and varied fears;
The Scene shuts up with loss of breath,
And leaves no Epilogue but Death.

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