Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
A Dittie, Declaring the Uncertaintie of Our Earthly Honor
XIX. Anthony Munday
        The certaine account that we must all make of death; and therefore that we should make ourselues ready at all times, because we are ignorant of our latter howre.

WHAT 1 state so sure but time subvarts?
  What pleasure that is voide of paine?
What cheereful change of former smarts
  But turnes straitwaie to greefe againe?
What credite may a man repose        5
  Vppon so fraile a clod of clay,
Which as to-day in sollace goes,
  To-morrow is brought to earthly bay?
            Thinke, O man!
How thy glasse is daily sette to runne,        10
And how thy life shall passe when it is doone:
Thy graue hath then thy glory wun,
And all thy pompe in cinders laide full lowe.
            Take example
By the fragrant flower in the feeld,        15
Which as to-day in brauery is beheld,
The parching sun hath ouer-quel’d.
O wretched man! euen thou thyselfe art so.
            How then?
How canst thou bragge, or canst thou boast,        20
            How that thou maiest
            Or that thou shalt
Enjoy thy life untill to-morrow day?
            Thou seest
That death subdues the strength of kings,        25
          Of high and lowe,
          Of rich and poore;
And all as one he dooth call awaie.
*      *      *      *      *      *
            To goe,
Put on your black aray; for needes you must away        30
Unto your house of clay:
Prepare your conscience gay against the dreadfull day,
            That you may be
Christ’s chosen flocke and sheepe,
Whom he will safely keepe,        35
Whether you doo wake or sleepe:
        Then shall the hellish foe
        Away in terror goe,
            This joy to see.
Remember this, amidst your blisse,        40
  That Christ hath redeemed vs by his blood.
Then let vs kill our affections so ill,
  To be elected in his seruants’ good.
Then shall we be sure for aye to endure
On God’s right hand among the pure;        45
When as the ill against their will
The endlesse paine shall passe untill.
    God graunt us feruent constancie
    To auoide so great extremitie,
    That by his grace continuallie        50
    We may purchase heauen’s felicitie!
Note 1. XIX. Anthony Munday.—“Servant to the Queen’s most excellent Majestie,” he published in 1588, “A Banquet of Daintie Conceits. Furnished with verie delicate and choyse inuentions, to delight their mindes, who take pleasure in musique, and therewithall to sing sweete ditties, either to the lute, bandora, virginalles, or anie other instrument.” He was also the author of “The Mirrour of Mutibilitie,” published in 1579, which describes the fall of princes and others, as recorded in Scripture. From these two very rare works these specimens are transcribed. [back]

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