Francis Quarles (8 May 1592 – 8 September 1644 / Romford, Essex, England)
The Shortness Of Life
And what's a life? A weary pilgrimage,
Whose glory in one day doth fill the stage
With childhood, manhood, and decrepit age.
And what's a life? The flourishing array
Of the proud summer-meadow, which to-day
Wears her green plush, and is to-morrow hay.
Read on this dial, how the shades devour
My short-lived winter's day! hour eats up the hour;
Alas! the total's but from eight to four.
Behold these lilies, which Thy hands have made
Fair copies of my life, and open laid
To view, how soon they droop, how soon they fade!
Shade not that dial, night will blind too soon;
My nonaged day already points to noon;
How simple is my suit! how small my boon!
Nor do I beg this slender inch to wile
The time away, or falsely to beguile
My thoughts with joy: here's nothing worth a smile.
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