Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top


Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 02-10-2020, 01:58 PM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is online now
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Chicago
Posts: 110
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.
Reply With Quote
Unread 02-12-2020, 07:27 PM
Gail White's Avatar
Gail White Gail White is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Breaux Bridge, LA, USA
Posts: 3,375

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.
Reply With Quote
Unread 02-29-2020, 02:53 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,506

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.
Reply With Quote
Unread 03-01-2020, 03:55 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Posts: 1,729

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.
Reply With Quote
Unread 03-17-2020, 09:48 AM
Eric Zhou Eric Zhou is offline
New Member
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 7

Love this line: "I looked for light and saw it was a shade"
Reply With Quote
Unread 05-11-2020, 01:17 PM
Tony Barnstone's Avatar
Tony Barnstone Tony Barnstone is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 686

I like how the poem on the one hand works as iambic pentameter, but works just as well as a non-alliterative version of strong stress meter (two strong beats, caesura, two strong beats). I like to teach the poem to my students to show the difference between how a poet reads meter and how a musician hears rhythm.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right

Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,072
Total Threads: 20,071
Total Posts: 255,374
There are 213 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right

Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online