Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
V. Death and Bereavement
Man’s Mortality
Simon Wastell (c. 1566–1632)
  LIKE as the damask rose you see,
  Or like the blossom on the tree,
  Or like the dainty flower in May,
  Or like the morning of the day,
  Or like the sun, or like the shade,        5
  Or like the gourd which Jonas had,—
  E’en such is man; whose thread is spun,
  Drawn out, and cut, and so is done.—
The rose withers, the blossom blasteth,
The flower fades, the morning hasteth,        10
The sun sets, the shadow flies,
The gourd consumes,—and man he dies!
  Like to the grass that ’s newly sprung,
  Or like a tale that ’s new begun,
  Or like the bird that ’s here to-day,        15
  Or like the pearlèd dew of May,
  Or like an hour, or like a span,
  Or like the singing of a swan,—
  E’en such is man; who lives by breath,
  Is here, now there, in life and death.—        20
The grass withers, the tale is ended,
The bird is flown, the dew ’s ascended.
The hour is short, the span is long,
The swan ’s near death,—man’s life is done!

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