Edward Farr, ed. Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First. 1847. Stanzas
W HAT 1 if a day, a month, or a yeare,
Croune thy delights with a thousand wisht contentings,
May not the chance of a night, or an howre,
Crosse those delights with as many sad tormentings?
Fortune, honoure, beautie, youth, 5
Are but blossomes dying;
Wanton pleasure, doting love,
Are but shadowes flying.
All our joyes
Are but toyes, 10
Idle thoughts deceaving:
None hath power
Halfe an howre
Of his lives bereaving.
The earths but a pointe of the world, and a man 15
Is but a poynte of the earths compared center:
Shall then a pointe of a pointe be so vayne
As to delight in a sillie poynts adventer?
Alls in hazard that we have,
There is nothing byding; 20
Dayes of pleasures are like streames
Through fayre medowes gliding.
Weale or woe,
Tyme doth goe,
There is no returning. 25
Guide our states
Both in myrth and mourning.
What shall a man desire in this world,
Since there is nought in this world thats worth desiring? 30
Let not a man cast his eyes to the earth,
But to the heavens, with his thoughts high aspiring.
Thinke that living thou must dye,
Be assured thy dayes are tolde:
Though on earth thou seeme to be, 35
Assure thyself thou art but molde.
All our health
Brings no wealth,
But returnes from whence it came;
So shall we 40
All agree, As we be the very same.
XV. Anonymous.The extracts from this author are derived from Sir Egerton Brydges Restituta, who printed them from a MS. in the possession of the Rev. H. J. Todd. This MS. was noticed by Mr. Todd in his edition of Miltons Poetical works, Vol. vi. It was evidently written in the age of king James, as in the epigrammatic portion there is an allusion to the counsayle of that monarch, which it is pungently said, Note 1. [
Made wise men mad, and mad men wise. back]