University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
A Collection of Emblemes

Ancient and Moderne: Quickened VVith Metricall Illvstrations, both Morall and Divine: And disposed into Lotteries, That Instruction, and Good Counsell, may bee furthered by an Honest and Pleasant Recreation. By George Wither

collapse section 
expand section1. 
expand section2. 
expand section3. 
collapse section4. 
Illvstr. VIII.


Illvstr. VIII.

[When hee, who by his conquering Arme, possest]

Loe, heere is all, that hee possest,
Which once was Victor of the East.

When hee, who by his conquering Arme, possest
The rich, and spacious Empires of the East,
Felt his approaching end; he bade them beare
A Shirt throughout his Armie, on a Speare,
Proclaiming, that of all his large estate,
No more was left him, then, but only that:
Perhaps intending, thereby, to expresse,
A sorrow for his wilde Ambitiousnesse;
Or, hoping, by that Spectacle, to give
Some good Instructions unto those that live.
However, let it serve us, to declare,
How vaine their toylings, and ambitions are,
Who rob themselves, and other men of rest,
For things that are so little while possest.
And, if that powerfull King, could nothing have,
That was of use, to carry to his Grave,
(Of all his conquered Kingdomes) but, one Shirt,
Or, Winding sheet, to hide his Royall durt;
Why should we pinch, and scrape, and vext become,
To heap up Riches, for we know not whom?
Or, macerate the Flesh, by raising strife,
For more, than will bee usefull during life?
Nay, ev'n for that, which sometimes shortens breath,
And makes us, also, wretched after Death.
Let mee, oh God! my labour so employ,
That, I, a competencie may enjoy.
I aske no more, than may Lifes want supply,
And, leave their due to others, when I die.
If this thou grant, (which nothing doubt I can)
None ever liv'd, or dy'd a richer man.