Saturday, July 7, 2007


[Written in the Tower, the night before his probably unjust execution for treason.]

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,

My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,

And all my goodes is but vain hope of gain.
The day is fled, and yet I saw no sun;
And now I live, and now my life is done!

My spring is past, and yet it hath not sprung,

The fruit is dead, and yet the leaves are green,
My youth is past, and yet I am but young,

I saw the world, and yet I was not seen.
My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun;
And now I live, and now my life is done!

I sought for death and found it in the wombe,

I lookt for life, and yet it was a shade,
I trade the ground, and knew it was my tombe,

And now I die, and now I am but made.
The glass is full, and yet my glass is run;
And now I live, and now my life is done!



Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen,

Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly;
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:

Then, heigh-ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly!

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,

Thou dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot:

Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:

Then, heigh-ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly!




Moan, moan, ye dying gales!
The saddest of your tales

Is not so sad as life;
Nor have you e'er began
A theme so wild as man,

Or with such sorrow rife.

Fall, fall, thou withered leaf!
Autumn sears not like grief,

Nor kills such lovely flowers;
More terrible the storm,
More mournful the deform,

When dark misfortune lowers.

Hush! hush! thou trembling lyre,
Silence, ye vocal choir,

And thou, mellifluous lute,
For man soon breathes his last,
And all his hope is past,

And all his music mute.

Then, when the gale is sighing,
And when the leaves are dying,

And when the song is o'er,
O, let us think of those
Whose lives are lost in woes,

Whose cup of grief runs o'er.



The World's a bubble, and the Life of Man

Less than a span:
In his conception wretched, from the womb,

So to the tomb;
Curst from his cradle, and brought up to years

With cares and fears.
Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
But limns on water, or but writes in dust.

Yet whilst with sorrow here we live opprest,

What life is best?
Courts are but only superficial schools

To dandle fools:
The rural parts are turned into a den

Of savage men:
And where's a city from foul vice so free,
But may be termed the worst of all the three?

Domestic cares afflict the husband's bed,

Or pains his head:
Those that live single, take it for a curse,

Or do things worse:
Some would have children: those that have them, moan

Or wish them gone:
What is it, then, to have or have no wife,
But single thraldom, or a double strife?

Our own affection still at home to please

Is a disease:
To cross the seas to any foreign soil,

Peril and toil:
Wars with their noise affright us; when they cease,

We are worse in peace;—
What then remains, but that we still should cry
For being born, or, being born, to die?



In his own image the Creator made,

His own pure sunbeam quickened thee, O man!

Thou breathing dial! since the day began
The present hour was ever marked with shade!



Linger not long. Home is not home without thee:

Its dearest tokens do but make me mourn.
O, let its memory, like a chain about thee,

Gently compel and hasten thy return!

Linger not long. Though crowds should woo thy staying,

Bethink thee, can the mirth of thy friends, though dear,
Compensate for the grief thy long delaying

Costs the fond heart that sighs to have thee here?

Linger not long. How shall I watch thy coming,

As evening shadows stretch o'er moor and dell;
When the wild bee hath ceased her busy humming,

And silence hangs on all things like a spell!

How shall I watch for thee, when fears grow stronger,
As night grows dark and darker on the hill!
How shall I weep, when I can watch no longer!

Ah! art thou absent, art thou absent still?

Yet I shall grieve not, though the eye that seeth me

Gazeth through tears that makes its splendor dull;
For oh! I sometimes fear when thou art with me,

My cup of happiness is all too full.

Haste, haste thee home unto thy mountain dwelling,

Haste, as a bird unto its peaceful nest!
Haste, as a skiff, through tempests wide and swelling,

Flies to its haven of securest rest!



O, my Luve's like a red, red rose

That's newly sprung in June:
O, my Luve's like the melodie

That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a' the seas gang dry:

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear.

And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,

While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve!

And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my Luve,

Tho' it were ten thousand mile.



Flowers are fresh, and bushes green,

Cheerily the linnets sing;
Winds are soft, and skies serene;

Time, however, soon shall throw

Winter's snow
O'er the buxom breast of Spring!

Hope, that buds in lover's heart,

Lives not through the scorn of years;
Time makes love itself depart;

Time and scorn congeal the mind,—

Looks unkind
Freeze affection's warmest tears.

Time shall make the bushes green;

Time dissolve the winter snow;
Winds be soft, and skies serene;

Linnets sing their wonted strain:

But again
Blighted love shall never blow!

From the Portuguese of LUIS DE CAMOENS.
Translation of LORD STRANGFORD