Death the Leveller
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crookèd scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill:
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath
When they, pale captives, creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds!
Upon Death's purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds.
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb:
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.
James Shirley's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Death the Leveller by James Shirley )
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
William Ernest Henley
- Deep Water Haiku Trilogy, Kyle Schlicher
- I tease, hasmukh amathalal
- the sinful lover, RIC S. BASTASA
- retriever for a pet (very rough), lee fones
- Iraq in History, Ima Ryma
- the yes in me, RIC S. BASTASA
- Kalidasa, Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- THE PRETTY SEA AND THE HARD ROCKS, MOHAMMAD SKATI
- Venereus, Bruce Hayno
- without tears, RIC S. BASTASA