A Litany in Time of Plague – Thomas Nashe 1592

Adieu, farewell, earth’s bliss;

This world uncertain is;

Fond are life’s lustful joys;

Death proves them all but toys;

None from his darts can fly;

I am sick, I must die.

    Lord, have mercy on us!

*****

Rich men, trust not in wealth,

Gold cannot buy you health;

Physic himself must fade.

All things to end are made,

The plague full swift goes by;

I am sick, I must die.

    Lord, have mercy on us!

*****

Beauty is but a flower

Which wrinkles will devour;

Brightness falls from the air;

Queens have died young and fair;

Dust hath closed Helen’s eye.

I am sick, I must die.

    Lord, have mercy on us!

*****

Strength stoops unto the grave,

Worms feed on Hector brave;

Swords may not fight with fate,

Earth still holds open her gate.

“Come, come!” the bells do cry.

I am sick, I must die.

    Lord, have mercy on us!

*****

Wit with his wantonness

Tasteth death’s bitterness;

Hell’s executioner

Hath no ears for to hear

What vain art can reply.

I am sick, I must die.

    Lord, have mercy on us!

*****

Haste, therefore, each degree,

To welcome destiny;

Heaven is our heritage,

Earth but a player’s stage;

Mount we unto the sky.

I am sick, I must die.

    Lord, have mercy on us!

From the play Summer’s Last Will and Testament.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: