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Unread 02-10-2020, 01:58 PM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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Default My Prime of Youth is But a Frost of Cares

Tichborne composed this masterpiece on the eve of his execution, which included being disembowled before he was hanged. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, "When a man knows he is to be hanged in the morning, it wonderfully concentrates his mind." I hope that knowing he had written a great poem helped him to endure the agony he suffered.

My Prime of Youth is But a Frost of Cares
By Chidiock Tichborne

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain.
The day is gone and yet I saw no sun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

The spring is past, and yet it hath not sprung,
The fruit is dead, and yet the leaves are green,
My youth is gone, and yet I am but young,
I saw the world, and yet I was not seen,
My thread is cut, and yet it was not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death and found it in my womb,
I looked for light and saw it was a shade,
I trode the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I am but made.
The glass is full, and now the glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

Last edited by Tim McGrath; 02-29-2020 at 07:09 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 02-12-2020, 07:27 PM
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Gail White Gail White is offline
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I've loved this ever since I encountered it in my Renaissance Lit class 50 years ago. It only takes one poem to make you immortal.
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Unread 02-29-2020, 02:53 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
And it sometimes takes a long time to finally read something and know it for the first time. Such as in my case. Thanks for posting.
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Unread 03-01-2020, 03:55 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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The fourth lines of the first two stanzas introduce different ideas. The one in the second stanza, in particular, feels only tangentially related to the idea that life ends as soon as it begins.

It's impressive that the poem finds so many impactful ways of making the same point.
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Unread 03-17-2020, 09:48 AM
Eric Zhou Eric Zhou is offline
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Love this line: "I looked for light and saw it was a shade"
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