10 June 2013

Whether Men Do Laugh or Weep

Thomas Campion (1567-1620), "Whether Men Do Laugh or Weep," in The Book of Elizabethan Verse (London: Chatto & Windus, 1908), pp. 535-536:
Whether men do laugh or weep,
Whether they do wake or sleep,
Whether they die young or old,
Whether they feel heat or cold;
There is underneath the sun
Nothing in true earnest done.

All our pride is but a jest.
None are worst and none are best;
Grief and joy and hope and fear
Play their pageants everywhere:
Vain Opinion all doth sway,
And the world is but a play.

Powers above in clouds do sit,
Mocking our poor apish wit.
That so lamely with such state
Their high glory imitate.
No ill can be felt but pain,
And that happy men disdain.