Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Why So Serious, Why So Grave?

Thomas Flatman (1635-1688), "The Whim. Song," in his Poems and Songs, 4th ed. (London: Benjamin Tooke, 1686), pp. 130-131:
Why so serious, why so grave?
    Man of business, why so muddy?
Thy self from Chance thou canst not save
    With all thy care and study.
Look merrily then, and take thy repose;
For 'tis to no purpose to look so forlorn,
Since the World was as bad before thou wert born,
    And when it will mend who knows?
  And a thousand year hence 'tis all one,
If thou lay'st on a Dunghill, or sat'st on a Throne.

To be troubled, to be sad,
    Carking Mortal 'tis a folly,
For a pound of Pleasure's not so bad
    As an ounce of Melancholy:
Since all our lives long we travel towards Death,
Let us rest us sometimes, and bait by the way,
'Tis but dying at last; in our Race let us stay,
    And we shan't be so soon out of breath.
  Sit the Comedy out, and that done,
When the Play's at an end, let the Curtain fall down.

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