William Cowper

(26 November 1731 – 25 April 1800 / Hertfordshire)

Mortals! Around Your Destined Heads - Poem by William Cowper

Mortals! around your destined heads
Thick fly the shafts of death,
And lo! the savage spoiler spreads
A thousand toils beneath.

In vain we trifle with our fate,
Try every art in vain;
At best we but prolong the date,
And lengthen out our pain.

Fondly we think all danger fled,
For death is ever nigh;
Outstrips our unavailing speed,
Or meets us as we fly.

Thus the wrecked mariner may strive
Some desert shore to gain,
Secure of life, if he survive
The fury of the main.

But there, to famine doomed a prey,
Finds the mistaken wretch
He but escaped the troubled sea,
To perish on the beach.

Since then in vain we strive to guard
Our frailty from the foe,
Lord, let me live not unprepared
To meet the fatal blow!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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