Sunday, April 10, 2011
A Weary Interlude
Henry King (1592–1669), The Dirge
What is th' Existence of Mans 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 deaths cold hand signs his release.
It is a storm where the hot blood
Out-vies in rage the boyling 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 growes,
And withers as the leaves disclose;
Whose spring and fall faint seasons keep,
Like fits of waking before sleep:
Then shrinks into that fatal mold
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 wandring as his fancies are;
Till in a mist of dark decay
The dreamer vanish quite away.
It is a Diall, which points out
The Sun-set as it moves about:
And shadowes out in lines of night
The subtile stages of times flight,
Till all obscuring earth hath laid
The body in perpetual shade.
It is a weary enterlude
Which doth short joyes, long woes include.
The World the Stage, the Prologue tears,
The Acts vain hope, and vary'd fears:
The Scene shuts up with loss of breath,
And leaves no Epilogue but Death.