Sunday, 15 January 2012

A 'vanitas' poem by the German writer Andreas Gryphius (1616-64)

All is vanity

You see, where’er you look, but vanity on earth!
What one man builds today, another will tear down;
where now proud cities stand, mere meadows will be found
on which a shepherd child’s seen playing with the herd,

What now is in full flower will trampled be and dead
what throbs with vibrant life will soon be ash and bone;
nought may eternal be: not ore nor marble stone.
On us now fortune smiles, but troubles loom ahead.

The fame of mighty deeds like dreams shall fade away.
Is then poor humankind, time’s plaything, here to stay?
Ah, how most everything we now consider great

is but an empty void, but shadow, dust and wind,
is but a meadow flower one can no longer find!
And what’s eternal not one man would contemplate!

For the original poem, go to here.

No comments: