Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Waddington, ed. > The Sonnets of Europe
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Samuel Waddington, comp.  The Sonnets of Europe.  1888.
 
A Game at Football
By Amadis Jamyn (1538–1592)
 
Translated by Henry Francis Cary

WHEN 1 I behold a football to and fro
  Urged by a throng of players equally,
  Who run pell-mell, and thrust and push and throw,
  Each party bent alike on victory;
Methinks I see, resembled in that show,        5
  This round earth poised in the vacant sky,
  Where all are fain to lay each other low,
  Striving by might and main for mastery.
The ball is filled with wind: and even so
  It is for wind most times that mortals war;        10
  Death the sole prize they all are struggling for:
And all the world is but an ebb and flow;
  And all we learn, whenas the game is o’er,
  That life is but a dream, and nothing more.
 
Note 1. Cary, in his volume on the Early French Poets, writes:—“It is entertaining enough, after reading the poems of Ronsard, to look into those of Amadis Jamyn, his page, who has quite as much of the airs of his master as one in that station ought to have. In imitation of his master, he has three mistresses, after whom he names three of his books (there are five books in all)—Oriana, christened after the mistress of Amadis of Gaul; Artemis; and Callirhoe. Like Ronsard, he pays his compliments in verse to the French monarchs, Charles IX. and Henry III., the former of whom, I believe, appointed him his secretary.” It is a mistake, however, on the part of Cary to speak of Jamyn as being the page of Ronsard. The latter, delighted with Jamyn’s verses, invited him to his house, and, we are told, treated him as his own son, and eventually procured for him the post of Secretary and Reader to the King. [back]
 
 
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