by James Shirley

Victorious men of earth, no more
    Proclaim how wide your empires are ;
Though you bind in every shore,
    And your triumphs reach as far
            As night or day,
Yet you, proud monarchs, must obey,
And mingle with forgotten ashes, when
Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.

Devouring Famine, Plague and War,
    Each able to undo mankind,
Death's servile emissaries are :
    Nor to these alone confined,
            He hath at will
More quaint and subtle ways to kill ;
A smile or kiss, as he will use the art,
Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.

Massingham, H. J., Ed. A Treasury of Seventeeth Century English Verse.
London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1931.  204.


  Site copyright ©1996-2006 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
  Created by Anniina Jokinen on June 14, 2000.

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