Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
 
Stanzas
XV. Anonymous
 
WHAT 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 live’s bereaving.
 
The earth’s but a pointe of the world, and a man        15
Is but a poynte of the earth’s compared center:
Shall then a pointe of a pointe be so vayne
As to delight in a sillie poynt’s adventer?
      All’s 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
          Secret fates
          Guide our states
        Both in myrth and mourning.
 
What shall a man desire in this world,
Since there is nought in this world that’s 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.
 
Note 1. 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 Milton’s 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,
“Made wise men mad, and mad men wise.”
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