Friday, April 22, 2011

Sic Vita


Like to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are,
Or like the fresh spring's gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew,
Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood:
Even such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in, and paid to night.
The wind blows out, the bubble dies;
The spring entombed in autumn lies;
The dew dries up, the star is shot;
The flight is past, and man forgot.


— Henry King


Henry King (1592-1669), the son of a bishop who would become a bishop himself during the Restoration was a close friend to both John Donne and Ben Johnson. Donne, who made King one of his executors, gifted him with his sermons and notes on more than 1400 authors. King's own library was seized by writ of parliament in 1643.

Unpublished in his lifetime, it would be 1843 before a selection of King's poems and psalms were to be published. Sic Vita is regarded as one of the first English environmental poems. It's title was borrowed by Henry David Thoreau in 1837 for another poem with an environmental theme.

Such is life.