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The Dirge

Vhat is th' Existence of Mans life?

But open war, or slumber'd strife.

Where sickness to his sense presents The combat of the Elements:

And never feels a perfect Peace Till deaths cold hand signs his release.

It is a storm where the hot blood Out-vies in rage the boyling flood;

And each loud Passion of the mind Is like a furious gust of wind,

Which beats his Bark with many a Wave Till he casts Anchor in the Grave.

It is a flower which buds and growes,

And withers as the leaves disclose;

Whose spring and fall faint seasons keep,

Like fits of waking before sleep:

Then shrinks into that fatal mold Where its first being was enroll'd.

It is a dream, whose seeming truth Is moraliz'd in age and youth:

Where all the comforts he can share As wandring as his fancies are;

Till in a mist of dark decay The dreamer vanish quite away.

It is a Diall, which points out The Sun-set as it moves about:

And shadowes out in lines of night The subtile stages of times flight,

Till all obscuring earth hath laid The body in perpetual shade.

It is a weary enterlude Which doth short joyes, long woes include.

The World the Stage, the Prologue tears,

The Acts vain hope, and vary'd fears:  The Scene shuts up with loss of breath,

And leaves no Epilogue but Death.


Henry King

Henry King (1592 – 30 September 1669) was an English poet who served as Bishop of Chichester.

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