Verse > Anthologies > Francis T. Palgrave, ed. > The Golden Treasury
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Francis T. Palgrave, ed. (1824–1897). The Golden Treasury.  1875.
 
Lord Bacon
 
LVII. Life
 
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         5
      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?  10
Courts are but only superficial schools 
      To dandle fools; 
The rural parts are turn'd into a den 
      Of savage men; 
And where's a city from foul vice so free,  15
But may be term'd 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;  20
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 affections still at home to please  25
      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:  30
What then remains, but that we still should cry 
For being born, or, being born, to die? 
 
 
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