« AnteriorContinuar »
Continually at my bed's head
A hearse doth hang, which doth me tell, That I ere morning may be dead,
Though now I feel myself full well;
The gown which I do use to wear,
The knife wherewith I cut my meat; And eke that old and ancient chair
Which is my only usual seat: All these do tell me I must die, And yet my life amend not I.
My ancestors are turned to clay,
And many of my mates are gone;
And can I think to 'scape alone?
Nor Samson, though he were so strong; No king, no person, ever yet.
Could 'scape, but Death laid him along: Wherefore I know that I must die, And yet my life amend not I. Though all the East did quake to hear
Of Alexander's dreadful name; And all the West did likewise fear
To hear of Julius Cæsar's fame, Yet both by Death in dust now lie; Who then can 'scape, but he must die ? If none can 'scape Death's dreadful dart,
If rich and poor his beck obey; If strong, if wise, if all do smart,
Then I to 'scape shall have no way. Oh! grant me grace, O God! that I My life may mend, sith I must die !
(ABOUT 1550—ABOUT 1625.) The first edition of the “Paradise of Dainty Devices? contains five poems by a writer who employs the graceful cryptonyme of "My Lucke is Losse.” From the occurrence of a similar expression in a poem authenticated by Riche-an “Epitaph upon the death of Sir William Drury”-there is a presumption that he is the writer whose modesty sheltered under that singular nom de plume; a presumption which is strengthened by comparing it with his motto, Malui me diritem esse, quam vocari. Nothing is known of the time or place either of his birth or his death. The above dates of these several events have been given as approximate, from observing that his first production was in 1574, and his last in 1624; and from the absurdity, considering his inveterate fecundity, of believing that he long survived his final literary effort. His twenty-six works did not circulate extensively in his lifetime, and they have since enjoyed chiefly the untroubled immortality of the shelf. The following psalm of human instability is worthy of re-presentation.
WHAT JOY TO A CONTENTED MIND.
The friend that feigns, who holdeth not unjust ?
Who hopes for truth where troth is void of trust ? No faith, no friend, no love, no troth so sure, But rather fail, than steadfastly endure.
What head so staid that altereth not intent?
What thought so sure that steadfast doth remain ?
What tongue so true but sometime wonts to feign?
What mood so mild that never moved debate ?
What love so true that never learned to hatc: What life so pure that lasts without offence ? What worldly mind but moves with ill pretence ? What knot so fast that may not be untied ?
What seal so sure but fraud or force shall break? What
prop. of stay but one time shrinks aside ? What ship so staunch that never had a leak? What grant so large that no exception makes ? What hopéd help but friend at need forsakes ? What seat so high but low to ground may fall?
What haps so good that never found mislike? What state so sure but subject is to thrall ?
What force prevails where Fortune lists to strike? What wealth so much but time may turn to want ? What store so great but wasting maketh scant ? What profits hope in depth of danger's thrall ?
What ruste in time but waxeth worse and worse? What helps good heart if Fortune frown withal ?
What blessing thrives 'gainst heavenly helpless curse ? What wins desire to get and can not gain ? What boots to wish and never to obtain ?