Thursday, February 07, 2019


Thou Hast Finished Joy and Moan

Shakespeare, Cymbeline 4.2.259-282:
Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;        260
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great;        265
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.        270

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finish'd joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must        275
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!        280
Quiet consummation have;
And renownèd be thy grave!
Samuel Johnson on lines 269-270:
The poet's sentiment seems to have been this. All human excellence is equally the subject to the stroke of death: neither the power of kings, nor the science of scholars, nor the art of those whose immediate study is the prolongation of life, can protect then from the final destiny of man.

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