This poem is by Thomas Nashe (1567-1601). It was penned during the plague that swept across Europe in those days; the title of the poem comes from the first line. It is unlikely you’ll not read any modern day poems that face the reality of our finite and brief existence with such clarity and recognition. Psalm 90 nicely could be the backdrop of such sober words. May we live our lives this week with courage and hope in the only thing that lasts through pandemic, plague, cancer, heart attack, car wrecks, flu, pneumonia, virus, infection, or old age: A Life With a Merciful Savior.
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 fully 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 ope her gate. Come! Come! The bells do cry, I am sick, I must die. Lord, have mercy on us!