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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
50. What Is Our Life
 
Sir Walter Raleigh (1552(?)–1618)
 
 
WHAT is our life? The play of passion.
Our mirth? The music of division:
Our mothers’ wombs the tiring-houses be,
Where we are dressed for life’s short comedy.
The earth the stage; Heaven the spectator is,        5
Who sits and views whosoe’er doth act amiss.
The graves which hide us from the scorching sun
Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.
Thus playing post we to our latest rest,
And then we die in earnest, not in jest.        10
 

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