"I know that all beneath the moon decays"

By William Drummond of Hawthornden 1585–1649 William Drummond of Hawthornden
I know that all beneath the moon decays,
And what by mortals in this world is brought,
In Time’s great periods shall return to nought;
That fairest states have fatal nights and days;
I know how all the Muse’s heavenly lays,
With toil of spright which are so dearly bought,
As idle sounds of few or none are sought,
And that nought lighter is than airy praise.
I know frail beauty like the purple flower,
To which one morn oft birth and death affords;
That love a jarring is of minds’ accords,
Where sense and will invassal reason’s power:
Know what I list, this all can not me move,
But that, O me! I both must write and love.

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Poet William Drummond of Hawthornden 1585–1649

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Love, Realistic & Complicated

Biography

In his book collecting as in his poetry, William Drummond was conservative and imitative. As reported in Notes of Ben Jonson's Conversations with William Drummond of Hawthornden (1842), Jonson said that Drummond's verses were good, "Save that they smelled too much of the Schools, and were not after the fancie of the time." In an undated letter to Dr. Arthur Johnston, Drummond expressed his objections to innovations in poetry:

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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