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.