Tag Archives: sickness

In Time Of Pestilence By Thomas Nashe

Nothing in particular prompted me to reproduce Thomas Nashe’s poem “In Time Of Pestilence” other than it being one of my favourites, together with memories of sitting contentedly, In the school library leafing through anthologies.

 

In Time Of Pestilence By Thomas Nashe

 

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!

Dormitory

Thud, the sound of a ball being kicked against the wall drifts up to me, as I lie in the dormitory.

Me sick but strangely content to lie abed while my fellow pupils play below. The room is peaceful save for the distant noise of the ball. A gentle breze stirs the curtains. I read, perhaps Palgrave’s Golden Treasury.

Oh the tranquillity, would that I could be ill more often.