Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
Of Life
XCII. John Bodenham
 
        Life is a frost of cold felicitie,
And death a thaw of all our miserie.

LIFE is a wandring course to doubtfull rest;
Life is but losse, where death is counted gaine:
  When vertue’s daies doe end, they are not done,
  But liue too liues where others haue but one.
 
The death of sinne is life vnto the soule;        5
Man’s life still endeth with the end of life:
  In vanitie of life and wandring wayes
  The wicked run, and weare out all their daies.
*        *        *        *        *
The longer life, the greater is our guilt;
Life must with life, and blood with blood be paid.        10
  Hate not thy life, but loathe captiuitie,
  Where rests no hope to purchase victorie.
 
Men must haue griefe so long as life remaines;
Life is not that which should be much desir’d:
  We often see, who on a king relyes,        15
  Finds death aliue; while liuing yet he dyes.
*        *        *        *        *
That dead things can giue life we sildome find;
Contrition doth reformed life begin:
  To liue, or dye, which of the two is better,
  When life is sham’d, and death reproches debter?        20
 
First doe we bud, then blow, next seed, last fall;
We aske death’s aid to end life’s wretchednesse:
  God guides man’s life, and when he list to haue it,
  Wit, wealth, nor any thing beside can saue it.
 
Our life is death, if we doe liue in sinne;        25
A dying life all kind of death exceeds:
  Contented mean estate true life doth giue,
  Resting secure, not rising vp to grieue.
*        *        *        *        *
That life is death, where men do liue alone;
A good life doth beget as good a death:        30
  No wise man likes in such a life to dwell,
  Whose waies are strait to heauen, and wide to hell.
 
They liue but ill who always thinke to liue:
To men in miserie life seemes too long;
  Long life hath commonly long cares annext;        35
  The breath that life maintaines doth finish life.
 
 
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