Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Change and Fate
By Thomas Campion (1567–1620)
 
WHAT 1 if a day, or a month, or a year,
  Crown thy delights with a thousand sweet contentings!
Cannot a chance of a night or an hour
  Cross thy desires with as many sad tormentings?
Fortune, Honour, Beauty, Youth, are but blossoms dying,        5
Wanton Pleasure, doating Love, are but shadows flying,
All our joys are but toys! idle thoughts deceiving:
None have power, of an hour, in their lives bereaving.
 
Earth’s but a point to the world, and a man
  Is but a point to the world’s comparèd centre!        10
Shall then a point of a point be so vain
  As to triumph in a silly point’s adventure?
All is hazard that we have, there is nothing biding;
Days of pleasure are like streams through fair meadows gliding.
Weal and woe, time doth go! time is never turning;        15
Secret fates guide our states, both in mirth and mourning.
 
Note 1. From Richard Alison’s An Hour’s Recreation in Music, 1606. Three additional stanzas, found in The Golden Garland of Princely Delights, and in the Roxburghe Ballads, are not given in Alison’s version, and Mr. Bullen doubts if they were written by Campion. Also in the Roxburghe Ballads a “Second part” is appended. It would seem that Campion was indebted to a fifteenth-century song (contained in Ryman’s collection in the Cambridge Public Library) which commences:
  What yf a daye, a night, or howre
Crowne my desyres wythe every deyghte,
for in Sanderson’s Diary (in the British Museum MSS. Lansdowne, 241, fol. 49, temp. Elizabeth) the first two stanzas of the song appear more like the song in Ryman, and differing in minor points from the later version. The first two stanzas were anonymously printed as early as 1603, at the end of A verie excelent and delectabill Treatise intitulit Philotus, etc. A long notice of this song is given in Chappell’s Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. i., p. 310. [back]
 
 
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