Monday, October 14, 2019
Ill busied man why shouldst thou take such care
To lenghthen out thy lives short callendar;
Each dropping season, and each flower doth cry
Fool as I fade and wither thou must die.
The beating of thy pulse when thou art well
Is but the towling of thy passing bell:
Night is thy hearse, whose sable Canopy
Covers alike deceased day and thee.
And all those weeping dewes which nightly fall
Are but as tears shed for thy funerall.
Thanks to Kenneth Haynes for drawing my attention to The Poems of Henry King, ed. Margaret Crum (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), pp. 157-158 (title "My Midd-night Meditation"):
Ill busy'd Man! why should'st thou take such care
To lenghthen out thy Life's short Kalendar?
When e'ry Spectacle Thou look'st upon
Presents and Actes thy Execution.
Each drooping Season, and each Flower doth cry
Foole! As I fade and wither, Thou must Dy.
The beating of thy Pulse (when Thou art well)
Is just the Tolling of thy Passing Bell.
Night is thy Hearse, whose sable Canopy
Covers alike Deceased Day and Thee.
And all those weeping Dewes which nightly fall,
Are but the Teares shed for thy Funerall.