In Time of Plague [Adieu, farewell, earth’s bliss]

By Thomas Nashe 1567–1601 Thomas Nashe
Adieu, farewell, earth’s bliss;
This world uncertain is;
Fond are life’s lustful joys;
Death proves them all but toys;
None from his darts can fly;
I am sick, I must die.
   Lord, have mercy on us!

Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade.
All things to end are made,
The plague full swift goes by;
I am sick, I must die.
   Lord, have mercy on us!

Beauty is but a flower
Which wrinkles will devour;
Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died young and fair;
Dust hath closed Helen’s eye.
I am sick, I must die.
   Lord, have mercy on us!

Strength stoops unto the grave,
Worms feed on Hector’s brave;
Swords may not fight with fate,
Earth still holds ope her gate.
“Come, come!” the bells do cry.
I am sick, I must die.
   Lord, have mercy on us.

Wit with his wantonness
Tasteth death’s bitterness;
Hell’s executioner
Hath no ears for to hear
What vain art can reply.
I am sick, I must die.
   Lord, have mercy on us.

Haste, therefore, each degree,
To welcome destiny;
Heaven is our heritage,
Earth but a player’s stage;
Mount we unto the sky.
I am sick, I must die.
   Lord, have mercy on us.

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Poet Thomas Nashe 1567–1601

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Love, Heartache & Loss, Living, Death, Health & Illness, The Body, Time & Brevity

Biography

Thomas Nashe claimed in Strange News (1593) that he had "written in all sorts of humors privately ... more than any young man of my age in England." He left in manuscript an erotic poem dedicated to "Lord S," published late in his short life a show written for Archbishop Whitgift, and helped in the composition of plays—though there is no passage in any extant play that can definitely be attributed to him. Whatever the scope and . . .

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Poems by Thomas Nashe

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Heartache & Loss, Living, Death, Health & Illness, The Body, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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