Francis Beaumont

(1584 – 6 March 1616 / Leicestershire)

On The Tombs In Westminster Abbey - Poem by Francis Beaumont

MORTALITY, behold and fear!
What a change of flesh is here!
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within this heap of stones:
Here they lie had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands:
Where from their pulpits seal'd with dust
They preach, 'In greatness is no trust.'
Here 's an acre sown indeed
With the richest, royall'st seed
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin:
Here the bones of birth have cried--
'Though gods they were, as men they died.'
Here are sands, ignoble things,
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings;
Here 's a world of pomp and state,
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.


Comments about On The Tombs In Westminster Abbey by Francis Beaumont

  • Gold Star - 7,560 Points Douglas Scotney (7/2/2015 9:52:00 PM)

    'leveller' I'd call it. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 5,838 Points Francis Lynch (7/2/2015 8:32:00 PM)

    Sure takes a long time to give such a simple message; however, it needs to be spelled out for the sixteenth and seventeenth century dweller. A fine example of period poetry. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,205 Points Joseph Dela Sulh (losembe) (7/2/2015 12:51:00 PM)

    Mortality. All is vanity (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 19,559 Points Kim Barney (7/2/2015 10:45:00 AM)

    It's too bad PH puts out shorter versions of the original poems without letting the public know what they are doing. Although I personally like this shorter version better than the longer one, it's still a shame. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 24,126 Points Edward Kofi Louis (7/2/2015 4:07:00 AM)

    Morality! ! With the muse of the morals of mankind on earth. Nice work. (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 3,367 Points K.c. Ford (7/2/2015 2:09:00 AM)

    Thanks for the info Winifred. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Winifred Adams (5/26/2008 7:21:00 AM)

    This poem has been a favourite of mine since I was a child, and it appears unfinished here, or at least a much shortened version, and because of that the whole meaning of the poem is lost. The copy I have states that the author is not confirmed, and could have been written either by Francis Beaumont or W.Basse 1602. The copy I have is..
    On the Tombs in Westminster Abbey
    (A Memento For Mortality)

    MORTALITY, behold and fear!
    What a change of flesh is here!
    Think how many royal bones
    Sleep within this heap of stones:
    Hence removed from beds of ease,
    Dainty fare, and what might please.
    Fretted roofs, and costly shows
    To a roof that flats the nose.
    Which proclaims alol flesh is grass,
    Hoe the world's fair glories pass;
    That there is no trust in health,
    In youth, in age, in greatness, wealth;
    For if such could have reprieved
    Those had been immortal lived.
    Know from this, the world's a snare
    How that greatness is but care,
    How all pleasures are but pain
    And how short they do remain.
    For here they lie had realms and lands,
    Who now want strength to stir their hands:
    Where from their pulpits seal'd with dust
    They preach, 'In greatness is no trust.'
    Here 's an acre sown indeed
    With the richest, royall'st seed
    That the earth did e'er suck in
    Since the first man died for sin:
    Here the bones of birth have cried-
    'Though gods they were, as men they died.'
    Here are sands, ignoble things,
    Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings;
    With whom the poor man's earth being shown,
    The difference is not easily known.
    Here 's a world of pomp and state,
    Forgotten, dead, disconsolate.
    Think then, this scythe that mows down Kings,
    Exempts no meaner mortal things.
    Then bid the wanton lady tread
    Amid these mazes of the dead,
    And these truly understood,
    More shall cool and quench the blood,
    Than her many sports a-day.
    Bid her paint till day of doom
    To this favour she must come.
    Bid the merchant gather wealth,
    The ursurer exact by stealth,
    The proud man beat it from his thought,
    Yet to this shape all must be brought. (Report) Reply

    Silver Star - 3,209 Points Akachukwu Lekwauwa (7/2/2015 1:39:00 AM)

    Thanks Winifred for the contribution, this poem awesome.

Read all 8 comments »



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Read poems about / on: trust, birth, strength, fate, change, sleep, fear, world



Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003

Poem Edited: Tuesday, March 27, 2012


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