Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
 
V. Cautions and Complaints
The Common Doom
James Shirley (1596–1666)
 
VICTORIOUS men of earth, no more
  Proclaim how wide your empires are:
Though you bind in every shore,
  And your triumphs reach as far
        As night or day,        5
  Yet you proud monarchs must obey,
And mingle with forgotten ashes, when
Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.
 
  Devouring famine, plague, and war,
    Each able to undo mankind,        10
  Death’s servile emissaries are;
    Nor to these alone confined—
        He hath at will
  More quaint and subtle ways to kill.
A smile or kiss, as he will use the art,        15
Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.
 
 
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