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from Vanity of Vanities
- VAIN, short-lived and miserable Man,
- Learn what thou art when thy estate is best.
- A restless Wave o' th' troubled Ocean,
- A Dream, a lifeless Picture finely drest.
- A Wind a Flower, a Vapour and a Bubble,
- A Wheel that stands not still, a trembling Reed,
- A trolling Stone, dry Dust, light Chaff and Stuff,
- A shadow of something but truly nought indeed.
- Learn what deceitful Toyes, and empty things,
- The World, and its best enjoyments bee:
- Out of the Earth no true Contentment springs,
- But all things here are vexing Vanitie.
- For what is Beauty but a fading Flower?
- Or what is Pleasure, but the Devil's bait,
- Whereby he catcheth whom he would devour,
- And multitudes of souls doth ruinate?
- And what are Friends, but mortal men, as we,
- Whom Death from us may quickly separate;
- Or else their hearts may quite estrangéd be,
- And all thier love be turnéd into hate.
- And what are Riches to be doted on?
- Uncertain, fickle, and ensnaring things;
- They draw Mens Souls into Perdition,
- And when most needed, take them to their wings.
- Ah foolish man! that sets his heart upon
- Such empty shadows, such wild Fowl as these,
- That being gotten will be quickly gone,
- And whilst they stay increase but his disease.
- Michael Wigglesworth
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