Barnabe Googe

(1540-1594 / England)

An Epitaph On The Death Of Nicholas Grimald - Poem by Barnabe Googe

Behold this fleeting world, how all things fade,
How every thing doth pass and wear away;
Each state of life, by common course and trade,
Abides no time, but hath a passing day.
For look, as life, that pleasant dame, hath brought
The pleasant years and days of lustiness,
So Death, our foe, consumeth all to nought;
Envying thief, with dart doth us oppress.

And that which is the greatest grief of all,
The greedy gripe doth no estate respect,
But where he comes he makes them down to fall;
Nor stays he at the high sharp-witted sect.
For if that wit or worthy eloquence
Or learning deep could move him to forbear,
O Grimald, then thou hadst not yet gone hence,
But here hadst seen full many an aged year;
Nor had the muses lost so fine a flower,
Nor had Minerva wept to leave thee so;
If wisdom might have fled the fatal hour,
Thou hadst not yet been suffered for to go.

A thousand doltish geese we might have spared,
A thousand witless heads death might have found,
A taken them for whom no man had cared,
And laid them low in deep oblivious ground:
But fortune favors fool, as old men say,
And lets them live, and takes the wise away.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 23, 2010

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