John Webster poems

John Webster(1578 - 1632 / London, England)
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Vanitas Vanitatum

- by John Webster 47

All the flowers of the spring
Meet to perfume our burying;
These have but their growing prime,
And man does flourish but his time:
Survey our progress from our birth;
We are set, we grow, we turn to earth.
Courts adieu, and all delights,
All bewitching appetites!
Sweetest breath and clearest eye,
Like perfumes, go out and die;
And consequently this is done
As shadows wait upon the sun.
Vain ambition of kings
Who seek by trophies and dead things
To leave a living name behind,
And weave but nets to catch the wind.

Honourable Employment

- by John Webster 43

O my lord, lie not idle:
The chiefest action for a man of great spirit
Is never to be out of action. We should think
The soul was never put into the body,
Which has so many rare and curious pieces
Of mathematical motion, to stand still.
Virtue is ever sowing of her seeds;
In the trenches for the soldier: in the wakeful study
For the scholar; in the furrows of the sea
For men of our profession; of all which
Arise and spring up honour.

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