POETRY: VANITY OF THE WORLDLY THINGS
As he said vanity, so vain say I
Oh! Vanity, o vain all under sky;
Where is the man can say,
Lo, I have found a brittle earth a consolation sound?
What isn’t in honor to be set high?
No, the like beast and sons of men shall die,
And while they live, how often do they turn their fate:
He’s now a captive that was king of late.
What isn’t in wealth great treasures to obtain?
No, that’s but labor, anxious care and pain;
He heaps up riches, and he heaps up sorrow,
It’s his today but who is his heir tomorrow?
What then? Content in pleasures can you find?
Vainer than all, that is but to grasp the wind.
The sensual senses for a time they please,
Meanwhile the conscience rage, who shall appease?
What isn’t on beauty? No that’s but a snare,
They’re foul enough today, that once were fair.
What isn’t in flow’ring youth, or manly age?
The first is prone to vice, the last to rage.
Where is it then, in wisdom, learning art?
Sure if on earth, it must be on those parts;
Yet these the wisest of man of men did find
But vanity, vexation of mind.
And he that knows the most doth still bemoan
He knows not all that here is to be known.
What is it then? To do as stoics tell,
Nor laugh, nor weep let things go ill or well?
Such stoics are but stocks, such teaching vain,
While man is man he shall not have ease or pain.
If not in honor, beauty, age, or pain.
Nor yet in learning, wisdom, youth, nor pleasure,
Where shall I climb, sound, seek, search or find.
There is a path where no vulture’s has seen
Where lion fierce, nor lion’s whelps have been
Which leads on unto that living crystal fount,
Who drinks thereof, the world doth naught account.
The depth and the sea have said tis not in me,
With pearls and gold it shall not be valued
For sapphire, onyx, topaz who would change
It’s hid from eyes of men, they count it strange.
Death and destruction the fames hath heard,
But where and what it is, from heaven’s declared;
It brings to honor which time can’t wear away.
It yielded pleasure far beyond conceit,
And truly beautifies without deceit
Nor strength, nor wisdom, nor fresh youth shall fade.
Nor death shall see, but are immortal made.
This pearl of price, this tree of life, this spring
Who is possessed of shall reign a king.
Nor change of neither state nor care shall ever see,
But wear his crown unto eternity.
This satiates the soul, this stays the mind,
And all the rest but vanity we find.
By: JOAN NYOKABI