Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Poem on Mass Killings: Thomas Nashe (Adapted by David Hartley Mark)

A Litany in Time of Plague
 By Thomas Nashe (1567- c. 1601)
Adieu, farewell, earth’s bliss;
This world uncertain is;
Fond are life’s lustful joys;
Death proves them all but toys;
None from his darts can fly;
I am sick, I must die.
    Lord, have mercy on us!
Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade.
All things to end are made,
The plague full swift goes by;
I am sick, I must die.
    Lord, have mercy on us!
Beauty is but a flower
Which wrinkles will devour;
Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died young and fair;
Dust hath closed Helen’s eye.
I am sick, I must die.
    Lord, have mercy on us!
Strength stoops unto the grave,
Worms feed on Hector brave;
Swords may not fight with fate,
Earth still holds open her gate.
“Come, come!” the bells do cry.
I am sick, I must die.
    Lord, have mercy on us!
Wit with his wantonness
Tasteth death’s bitterness;
Hell’s executioner
Hath no ears for to hear
What vain art can reply.
I am sick, I must die.
    Lord, have mercy on us!
 Haste, therefore, each degree,
To welcome destiny;
Heaven is our heritage,
Earth but a player’s stage;
Mount we unto the sky.
I am sick, I must die.
    Lord, have mercy on us!
From window broke in Mandalay
The killer laid down his array:
Bullets flying everywhere
Struck concertgoers joying there;
Death from upwards none can fly:
Though not sick, they did die.
    Lord, have mercy on us!
Congress, fearing NRA
Silencers may approve today:
Bullets that can armor pierce
Killing cops with anger fierce;
NRA is Death’s ally:
Insane and crazed, they ought to die—
     Lord, have mercy on us!
Blood is on the schoolroom floor;
Insane killers cry for more.
Guns a-flourish everywhere:
Madmen kill without a care.
“Legislate!” The People cry;
Society’s sick: how many more must die?
       Lord, have mercy on us!