Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
John Webster. ?–1630?
  
220. 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—         5
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;  10
And consequently this is done 
As shadows wait upon the sun. 
Vain the ambition of kings 
Who seek by trophies and dead things 
To leave a living name behind,  15
And weave but nets to catch the wind. 
 
 
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