Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
Extracts from Night Thoughts: The Stream of Life, from Night V
By Edward Young (1681–1765)
 
IS it, that life has sown her joys so thick
We can’t thrust in a single care between?
Is it, that life has such a swarm of cares
The thought of death can’t enter for the throng?
Is it, that time steals on with downy feet,        5
Nor wakes indulgence from her golden dream?
To day is so like yesterday, it cheats;
We take the lying sister for the same.
Life glides away, Lorenzo, like a brook;
For ever changing, unperceived the change.        10
In the same brook none ever bathed him twice,
To the same life none ever twice awoke.
We call the brook the same; the same we think
Our life, though still more rapid in its flow;
Nor mark the much, irrevocably laps’d        15
And mingled with the sea. Or shall we say
(Retaining still the brook to bear us on)
That life is like a vessel on the stream?
In life embark’d we smoothly down the tide
Of time descend, but not on time intent,        20
Amused, unconscious of the gliding wave;
Till on a sudden we perceive a shock;
We start, awake, look out; what see we there?
Our brittle bark is burst on Charon’s shore.
 
 
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