Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
Death a Due Debt
XXXVIII. Anonymous
 
TO die, Dame Nature man did frame;
Death is a thing most perfect sure:
We ought not nature’s workes to blame,
Shee made nothing still to endure.
That lawe shee made, when we were borne,        5
That hence we should retourne againe:
To render right we must not scorne;
Death is due debt, it is no paine.
 
The civill lawe doth bidde restore
That thou hast taken up of trust:        10
Thy life is lent; thou must therfore
Repay, except thou be uniust.
This life is like a poynted race,
To the ende whereof when man hath trode,
He must returne to former place,        15
He may not still remaine abrode.
 
Death hath in the earth a right;
His power is great, it stretcheth farre:
No lord, no prince can scape his might;
No creature can his duetie barre.        20
The wise, the iust, the strong, the hie,
The chaste, the meeke, the free of hart,
The rich, the poore, (who can denie?)
Haue yeelded all unto his dart.
*        *        *        *        *
Seeing no man then can death escape,        25
Nor hire him hence for any gaine;
We ought not feare his carraine shape;
He onely brings evell men to paine.
If thou haue ledde thy life aright,
Death is the ende of miserie:        30
If thou in God hast thy delight,
Thou diest to live eternallie.
 
Eache wight therefore, while he liues heere,
Let him thinke on his dying day:
In midst of wealth, in midst of cheere,        35
Let him accompt he must away.
This thought makes man to God a frend,
This thought doth banish pride and sinne;
This thought doth bring a man in th’ end,
Where he of Death the field shall win.        40
 
 
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