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Vanitas Vanitatum -- John Webster

Guest poem sent in by Rajeev Cherukupalli
(Poem #1753) Vanitas Vanitatum
 All the flowers of the spring
 Meet to perfume our burying;
 These have but their growing prime,
 And man does flourish but his time:
 Survey our progress from our birth;
 We are set, we grow, we turn to earth.
 Courts adieu, and all delights,
 All bewitching appetites!
 Sweetest breath and clearest eye,
 Like perfumes, go out and die;
 And consequently this is done
 As shadows wait upon the sun.
 Vain ambition of kings
 Who seek by trophies and dead things
 To leave a living name behind,
 And weave but nets to catch the wind.
-- John Webster
Neville Clemens's submission ("Dilemma", by David Budbill, Poem #1753)
reminded me of this poem. There's probably a reason for Longfellow's "And,
departing, leave behind us / footprints on the sands of time;".  First the
footsteps, and then, though not always, the footprints. Until the sands
shift once again.

Webster's poem was published in "The Devil's Law Case" circa 1610. More on
Webster at

http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/webster/

Rajeev

[Martin adds]

The theme must have been a popular one at the time - I'm struck by the
similarities to Shirley's "Death the Leveller". Shirley was a contemporary
of Webster's, but I'm not sure which poem came first.

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