Tichbourne’s Elegy

Charles Cowling
Posted by Evelyn
 
I heard this on Radio Four over the weekend and liked its mournful simplicity.
 
My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain;
The day is past, and yet I saw no sun,
And now I live, and now my life is done. 
My tale was heard and yet it was not told,
My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green,
My youth is spent and yet I am not old,
I saw the world and yet I was not seen;
My thread is cut and yet it is not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done. 
I sought my death and found it in my womb,
I looked for life and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I was but made;
My glass is full, and now my glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done. 
 
Chideock Tichbourne 1563-1586
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Quokkagirl
Quokkagirl
7 years ago

I just wish I knew more…..

Vale
Vale
7 years ago

Lovely poem Evelyn. I think we mistake the freshness of a new born language for the feel of modernity. Reading the poetry of the time it is as though English suddenly broke out of its medieval bonds: simple, supple ready to hand and mind.

Evelyn
7 years ago
Reply to  Vale

I wish I knew more about the history of language 🙁

Evelyn
7 years ago

Allegedly, but it seems a bit ‘considered’ for one about to be hung, drawn and quartered next day! Who knows, maybe that sort of thing concentrates the mind somewhat?

Evelyn
7 years ago

I agree Charles – though whoppingly splendid Chideock Tichbourne met a grisly end for his plot against Elizabeth I.

Evelyn
7 years ago

Me too, just heard it late at night on Poetry Please and was astonished to see it was written in the 16th century – it sounded so up to the minute… seems there’s nothing new under the sun after all!

Belinda Forbes
Belinda Forbes
7 years ago

Thank you for sharing this Evelyn. I was surprised to see how long ago this was written.