On the Tombs in Westminster Abbey

May 14 2013

Mortality, behold and fear!
What a change of flesh is here!

No attribution, but Francis Beaumont.

“Mortality, behold and fear
What a change of flesh is here!
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within these heaps of stones;
Here they lie, had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands,
Where from their pulpits seal’d with dust
They preach, ‘In greatness is no trust.’
Here’s an acre sown indeed
With the richest royallest seed
That the earth did e’er suck in
Since the first man died for sin:
Here the bones of birth have cried,
‘Though gods they were, as men they died!’
Here are sands, ignoble things,
Dropt from the ruin’d sides of kings:
Here’s a world of pomp and state
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.”

The poem is in The Golden Treasury.

A Study of History, Vol IV, OUP, 1939

The poem is given in full in Vol X.

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