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We ought not fear his carrion shape,
He only brings ill men to pain. If thou have led thy life aright,
Death is the end of misery: If thou in God hast thy delight,
Thou diest to live eternally.
Each wight, therefore, while he lives here,
Let him think on his dying day:
Let him account he must away.
This thought doth banish pride and sin: This thought doth bring a man in th' end
Where he of death the field shall win.
Man's fleeting life finds surest stay
[From the same Collection.]
The sturdy rock, for all his strength,
By raging seas is rent in twain ;
With little drops of drizzling rain :
The stately stag that seems so stout,
By yelping hounds at bay is set:
Is caught at length in fowler's net.
Yea, man himself, unto whose will
All things are bounden to obey, For all his wit, and worthy skill,
Doth fade at length, and fall away. There is no thing but time doth waste; The heavens, the earth, consume at last.
But virtue sits, triumphing still,
Upon the throne of glorious fame : Though spiteful death man's body kill,
Yet hurts he not his virtuous name. By life or death, whatso betides, The state of virtue never slides.
DOMPLAINT FOR THE LOSS OF A FRIEND.
*[From the same Collection.]
Why should I longer long to live,
In this disease of fantasy ?
Things to my mind most contrary:
A friend I had, to me most dear,
And, of long time, faithful and just; There was no one my heart so near,
Nor one in whom I had more trust; Whom now of late, without cause why, Fortune hath made my enemy.
The grass, methinks, should grow in sky;
The stars unto the earth cleave fast; The water-stream should pass awry;
The winds should leave their strength of blast; The sun and moon, by one assent, Should both forsake the firmament;
The fish in air should fly with fin,
The fowls in flood should bring forth fry, All things methinks should first begin
To take their course unnaturally, Afore my
friend should alter so, Without a cause to be my foe.
But such is fortune's hate, I say,
Such is her will on me to wreak; Such spite she hath at me alway,
And ceaseth not my heart to break. With such despite of cruelty : Wherefore then longer live should I?