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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
To Geeraert Vossius: On the Loss of his Son
By Joost van den Vondel (1587–1679)
 
Translation of Sir John Bowring

WHY mourn’st thou, Vossius? why has pain
  Its furrows to thy pale brow given?
  Seek not to hold thy son from heaven!
’Tis heaven that draws,—resign him, then!
 
Yes, banish every futile tear;        5
  And offer to its Source above,
  In gratitude and humble love,
The choicest of thy treasures here.
 
We murmur if the bark should strand;
  But not when richly laden she        10
  Comes from the wild and raging sea,
Within a haven safe to land.
 
We murmur if the balm be shed:
  Yes, murmur for the odor’s sake;
  But not whene’er the glass may break,        15
If that which filled it be not fled.
 
He strives in vain who seeks to stay
  The bounding waters in their course,
  When hurled from rocks with giant force,
Towards some calm and spacious bay.        20
 
Thus turns the earthly globe;—though o’er
  His infant’s corse a father mourn,
  Or child bedew its parents’ urn,
Death passes neither house nor door.
 
Death nor for gay and blooming youth,        25
  Nor peevish age, his stroke defers;
  He chains the lips of orators,
Nor cares for wisdom, worth, or truth.
 
Blest is the mind that, fixed and free,
  To wanton pleasures scorns to yield,        30
  And wards as with a pliant shield
The arrows of adversity.
 
 
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