Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
A Dittie, Wherein the Brevitie of Man’s Life Is Described
XIX. Anthony Munday
 
        How soone his pompe vanisheth away, and he brought to his latest home.

THE STATELIE pine, whose braunches spread so faire,
  By winde or weather wasted is at length;
The sturdie oake, that clymeth in the ayre,
  In time dooth lose his beautie and his strength;
The fayrest flower, that florisht as to-daie,        5
To-morrow seemeth like the withered haie.
 
So fare it with the present state of man,
  Whose showe of healthe dooth argue manie yeares:
But as his life is likened to a span,
  So suddaine sicknes pulles him from his peeres;        10
And where he seemde for longer time to-daie,
To-morrow lies he as a lumpe of clay.
 
The infant yong, the milk-white aged head,
  The gallant youth that braueth with the best,
We see with earth are quickly ouerspreade,        15
  And both alike brought to their latest rest:
As soone to market commeth to be solde
The tender lambe’s skin as the weather’s olde.
 
Death is not partiall, as the prouerb saies;
  The prince and peasant both with him are one:        20
The sweetest face that’s painted now-a-daies,
  And highest head set forth with pearl and stone,
When he hath brought them to the earthly graue,
Beare no more reckoning then the poorest slaue.
 
The wealthy chuffe, that makes his gold his god,        25
  And scrapes and scratches all the mucke he may,
And with the world doth play at euen and od,
  When death thinks good to take him hence away,
Hath no more ritches in his winding-sheete
Then the poore soule that sterued in the streete.        30
 
Vnhappie man! that runneth on thy race,
  Not minding where thy crazed bones must rest:
But woe to thee that doost forget the place,
  Purchast for thee to liue amongst the blest!
Spend then thy life in such a good regard,        35
That Christe’s blessing may be thy reward.
 
 
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