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The Miseries of Man
Anne Killigrew 1660 (London) – 1685 (London)
1 In that so temperate Soil Arcadia nam'd,
1 For fertile Pasturage by Poets fam'd;
2 Stands a steep Hill, whose lofty jetting Crown,
3 Casts o'er the neighbouring Plains, a seeming Frown;
4 Close at its mossie Foot an aged Wood,
5 Compos'd of various Trees, there long has stood,
6 Whose thick united Tops scorn the Sun's Ray,
7 And hardly will admit the Eye of Day.
8 By oblique windings through this gloomy Shade,
9 Has a clear purling Stream its Passage made,
10 The Nimph, as discontented seem'd t'ave chose
11 This sad Recess to murmur forth her Woes.
12 To this Retreat, urg'd by tormenting Care,
13 The melancholly Cloris did repair,
14 As a fit Place to take the sad Relief
15 Of Sighs and Tears, to ease oppressing Grief.
16 Near to the Mourning Nimph she chose a Seat,
17 And these Complaints did to the Shades repeat.
18 Ah wretched, trully wretched Humane Race!
19 Your Woes from what Beginning shall I trace,
20 Where End, from your first feeble New-born Cryes,
21 To the last Tears that wet your dying Eyes?
22 Man, Common Foe, assail'd on ev'ry hand,
23 Finds that no Ill does Neuter by him stand,
24 Inexorable Death, Lean Poverty,
25 Pale Sickness, ever sad Captivity.
26 Can I, alas, the sev'ral Parties name,
27 Which, muster'd up, the Dreadful Army frame?
28 And sometimes in One Body all Unite,
29 Sometimes again do separately fight:
30 While sure Success on either Way does waite,
31 Either a Swift, or else a Ling'ring Fate.
32 But why 'gainst thee, O Death! should I inveigh,
33 That to our Quiet art the only way?
34 And yet I would (could I thy Dart command)
35 Crie, Here O strike! and there O hold thy Hand!
36 The Lov'd, the Happy, and the Youthful spare,
37 And end the Sad, the Sick, the Poor Mans Care.
38 But whether thou or Blind, or Cruel art,
39 Whether 'tis Chance, or Malice, guides thy Dart,
40 Thou from the Parents Arms dost pull away
41 The hopeful Child, their Ages only stay:
42 The Two, whom Friendship in dear Bands hs ty'd,
43 Thou dost with a remorseless hand devide;
44 Friendship, the Cement, that does faster twine
45 Two Souls, than that which Soul and Body joyn:
46 Thousands have been, who their own Blood did spill,
47 But never any yet his Friend did kill.
48 Then 'gainst thy Dart what Armour can be found,
49 Who, where thou do'st not strike, do'st deepest wound?
50 Thy Pitty, than thy Wrath's more bitter far,
51 Most cruel, where 'twould seem the most to spare:
52 Yet thou of many Evils art but One,
53 Though thou by much too many art alone.
54 What shall I say of Poverty, whence flows?
55 To miserable Man so many Woes?
56 Rediculous Evil which too oft we prove,
57 Does Laughter cause, where it should Pitty move;
58 Solitary Ill, into which no Eye,
59 Though ne're so Curious, ever cares to pry,
60 And were there, 'mong such plenty, onely One
61 Poor Man, he certainly would live alone.
62 Yet Poverty does leave the Man entire,
63 But Sickness nearer Mischiefs does conspire;
64 Invades the Body with a loath'd Embrace,
65 Prides both its Strength, and Beauty to deface;
66 Nor does it Malice in these bounds restrain,
67 But shakes the Throne of Sacred Wit, the Brain,
68 And with a ne're enough detested Force
69 Reason disturbs, and turns out of its Course.
70 Again, when Nature some Rare Piece has made,
71 On which her Utmost Skill she seems t'ave laid,
72 Polish't, adorn'd the Work with moving Grace,
73 And in the Beauteous Frame a Soul doth place,
74 So perfectly compos'd, it makes Divine
75 Each Motion, Word, and Look from thence does shine;
76 This Goodly Composition, the Delight
77 Of ev'ry Heart, and Joy of ev'ry sight,
78 Its peevish Malice has the Power to spoyle,
79 And with a Sully'd Hand its Lusture soyle.
80 The Grief were Endless, that should all bewaile,
81 Against whose sweet Repose thou dost prevail:
82 Some freeze with Agues, some with Feavers burn,
82 Whose Lives thou half out of their Holds dost turn;
83 And of whose Sufferings it may be said,
84 They living feel the very State o' th' Dead.
85 Thou in a thousand sev'ral Forms are drest,
86 And in them all dost Wretched Man infest.
87 And yet as if these Evils were too few,
88 Men their own Kind with hostile Arms pursue;
89 Not Heavens fierce Wrath, nor yet the Hate of Hell,
90 Not any Plague that e're the World befel,
91 Not Inundations, Famines, Fires blind rage,
92 Did ever Mortals equally engage, <
Submitted on May 13, 2011
- 4:15 min read
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|Scheme||AABBCCDDEEFF GGHHII JJFXKKLLMMNNOO HDKKGGPPDDAAQBRRSSXGTU FFVVWWTU XXJJYYZZEEJJQQNNRRRX1 1 2 2 AX 3 3 XR4 4|
|Closest metre||Iambic pentameter|
|Stanza Lengths||12, 6, 14, 22, 8, 26, 6|
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"The Miseries of Man" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 20 Mar. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/3223/the-miseries-of-man>.
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