Saturday, February 27, 2016

Deming's Cento on Life

Circa 1868, originally published in the San Francisco Times. The following poem is a compilation of lines selected by Mrs. H. A. Deming, from thirty-eight authors. It is said to have taken her one year of research to find and fit all the pieces to create this cento on Life:—

     E. Young:
Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour?
     Dr. Johnson:
Life's a short summer—man a flower.
      A. Pope:
By turns we catch the vital breath and die—
     M. Prior:
The cradle and the tomb, alas! too nigh.
     Dr. Sewell:
To be is far better than not to be,
     E. Spenser:
Though all man's life may seem a tragedy.
     S. Daniel:
But light cares speak when mighty griefs are dumb;
     W. Raleigh:
The bottom is but shallow whence they come.
     H.W. Longfellow:
Your fate is but the common fate of all;
     R. Southwell:
Unmingled joys here to no man befall.
     W. Congreve:
Nature to each allots his proper sphere,
     C. Churchill:
Fortune makes folly her peculiar care.
     Rochester:
Custom does not often reason overrule,
     J. Armstrong:
And throw a cruel sunshine on a fool.
     J. Milton:
Live well how long or short—permit to heaven,
     P.J. Bailey:
They who forgive most shall be most forgiven.
     Abp. Trench:
Sin may be clasped so close we cannot see its face
     W. Somerville:
Vile intercourse where virtue has not place.
     J. Thomson:
Then keep each passion down, however dear,
     Byron:
Thou pendulum, betwixt a smile and tear.
     T. Smollett:
Her sensual snares let faithless pleasures lay,
     G. Crabbe:
With craft and skill—to ruin and betray.
     P. Massinger:
Soar not too high to fall, but stoop to rise,
     A. Cowley:
We masters grow of all we despise.
     J. Beattie:
O then remove that impious self-esteem,
     W. Cowper:
Riches have wings, and grandeur is a dream.
     W. Davenant:
Think not ambition wise because 'tis brave,
     T. Gray:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
     N.P. Willis:
What is ambition? 'tis a glorious cheat,
     J. Addison:
Only destructive to the brave and great.
     J. Dryden:
What's all the gaudy glitter of a crown?
     F. Quarles:
The way to bliss lies not on beds of down.
     R. Watkyns:
How long we live, not years but actions tell,
     R. Herrick:
That man lives twice who lives the first life well.
     W. Mason:
Make them while yet ye may your God your friend,
     A. Hill:
Whom Christians worship, yet not comprehend.
     R.H. Dana:
The trust that's given guard and to yourself be just,
     W. Shakespeare:
For, live we how we can, yet die we must.



Now that's what I call the ultimate mash-up quotation!  «tεᖇᖇ¡·g»

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