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Desire himself runs out of breath,
And, getting, doth but gain his death ;
Desire nor reason hath, nor rest,
And, blind, doth seldom choose the best :
Desire attained is not desire,
But as the cinders of the fire.
As ships in ports desired are drowned ;
As fruit, once ripe, then falls to ground;
As Aies, that seek for flames, are brought
To cinders by the flames they sought :
So fond Desire, when it attains,
The life expires, the woe remains.
And yet some poets fain would prove
Affection to be perfect love ;
And that Desire is of that kind,
No less a passion of the mind,
As if wild beasts and men did seek
To like, to love, to choose alike.
Sir Walter Raleigh.
The World's a bubble, and the Life of Man
Less than a span;
In his conception wretched; from the womb
So to the tomb ;
Curst from his cradle, and brought up to years
With cares and fears.
Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
But limns on water, or but writes in dust.
Yet whilst with sorrow here we live opprest,
What life is best?
Courts are but only superficial schools
To dandle fools :
The rural parts are turned into a den
Of savage men:
And where's a city from foul vice so free,
But may be termed the worst of all the three?
Domestic cares afflict the husband's bed,
Or pains his head :
Those that live single, take it for a curse,
Or do things worse :
Some would have children; those that have them, moan,
Or wish them gone:
What is it, then, to have, or have no wife,
But single thraldom, or a double strife?
Our own affections still at home to please
Is a disease:
To cross the seas to any foreign soil,
Peril and toil :
Wars with their noise affright us ; when they cease,
We are worse in peace :-
What then remains, but that we still should cry
For being born, or, being born, to die?
The lowest trees have tops; the ant her gall ;
The fly her spleen; the little sparks their heat : The slender hairs cast shadows, though but small ;
And bees have stings, although they be not great. Seas have their surges, so have shallow springs; And love is love, in beggars as in kings.
Where rivers smoothest run, deep are the fords;
The dial stirs, yet none perceives it move ;
The firmest faith is in the fewest words;
The turtles cannot sing, and yet they love.
True hearts have eyes, and ears, no tongues to speak;
They hear, and see, and sigh; and then they break.
Go, Soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand ;
Fear not to touch the best ;
The truth shall be thy warrant.
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.
Say to the Court it glows
And shines like rotten wood;
Say to the Church it shows
What's good, and doth no good.
If Church and Court reply,
Then give them both the lie.
Tell Potentates they live
Acting by others' action;
Not loved unless they give,
Not strong but by affection.
If Potentates reply,
Give Potentates the lie.
Tell men of high condition,
That manage the Estate,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate.
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lie.
Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who in their greatest cost
Like nothing but commending :
And if they make reply,
Then tell them all they lie.
Tell Zeal it wants devotion;
Tell Love it is but lust;
Tell Time it is but motion;
Tell Flesh it is but dust. And wish them not reply, For thou must give the lie. Tell Age it daily wasteth;
Tell Honour how it alters ;
Tell Beauty how she blasteth;
Tell Favour how it falters.
And as they shall reply,
Give every one the lie.
Tell Wit how much it wrangles
In tickle points of niceness;
Tell Wisdom she entangles
Herself in over-wiseness.
And when they do reply,
Straight give them both the lie.
Tell Physic of her boldness ;
Tell Skill it is pretension;
Tell Charity of coldness;
Tell Law it is contention.
And as they do reply,
So give them all the lie.
Tell Fortune of her blindness;
Tell Nature of decay;
Tell Friendship of unkindness;
Tell Justice of delay.
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.
Tell Arts they have no soundness,
But vary by esteeming;
Tell Schools they want profoundness,
And stand so much on seeming.
If Arts and Schools reply,
Give Arts and Schools the lie.
Tell Faith it's fled the city ;
Tell how the country erreth;
Tell Manhood shakes off pity;
Tell Virtue least preferreth.
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.
So when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing,
Because to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing,
Stab at thee who that will,
No stab the soul can kill.
What is the world? tell, worldling, if thou know it. If it be good, why do all ills o'erflow it?
If it be bad, why dost thou like it so?
If it be sweet, how comes it bitter then?
If it be bitter, what bewitcheth men?
If it be friend, why kills it, as a foe,
Vain-minded men that over-love and lust it?
If it be foe, fondling, how dar'st thou trust it?