Several poems compiled with great variety of wit and learning, full of delight wherein especially is contained a compleat discourse, and description of the four elements, constitutions, ages of man, seasons of the year, together with an exact epitome of the three by a gentlewoman in New-England.
Bradstreet, Anne, 1612?-1672.
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The Ʋanity of all 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
On brittle Earth a Consolation sound?
What is't in honour to be set on high?
No, they like Beasts and Sons of men shall d••
And whil'st they live, how oft doth turn their 〈◊〉
He's now a captive, that was King of •ate
What is't in wealth, great Treas•res to obtain?
No that's hut labour, anxiou• care and pain,
He heaps up riches, and he heaps up sorrow,
It's his to day, but who's his •eir to morrow?
What then? Content in pleasures canst thou find,
More vain then all, that's but to grasp the wind.
The sensual senses for a time they please,
Mean while the conscience rage, who shall appease?
Page 234What is't in beauty? No that's but a snare,
They're foul enough to day, that once were sai•.
What is't in stowring youth, or manly age?
The first is prone to vice▪ the last to rage.
Where is it then, in wisdom, learning arts?
Sure if on earth, it must be in those parts:
Yet these the ••sest man of men did find
But vanity, vexation of mind.
And he that knowes the most, doth still bemoan
He knows not all that here is to be known.
What is it then, to doe as Stoicks tell.
Nor laugh, nor we•p, let things go ill or well.
Such Stote are but Stocks such teaching vain,
While man is man, he shall have ease or pain.
If not in honour beauty, age nor treasure
Nor yet in learning wisdome youth nor pleasure,
Where shall I climb, sound, seek search or find
That Summum Bonum which may stay my mind?
There is a path, no vultures eye hath seen,
Where Lion fierce, nor lions whelps have been,
Which lea•s unto that living Crystal Fount,
Who drinks thereof, the world doth nought ac∣count
The depth & sea have said tis not in me,
With pearl and gold, it shall not valued be.
For Saphire, Onix, Topaz, who would change:
Its hid from eyes of men, they count it strange.
Death and destruction the fame hath heard,
But where & what it is, from heaven's declar'd,
It br•ngs to honour, which shall ne're decay,
It stores with wealth which time can't wear away.
Page 235It yieldeth pleasures far beyond conceit,
And truly beautifies without deceit,
Nor strength, nor wisdome nor fresh youth shall sade
Nor death shall see. but are immortal made.
This pearl of price, this tree of l••e, this spring
Who is possessed of, shall reign a King
Nor change of state, nor cares shall ever see,
But wear his crown unto eternity.
This satiates the Soul, this stayes the mind,
And all the rest, but Vanity we find.