The Consolation of Philosophy


Oh, let him, who pants for glory's guerdon,

Deeming glory all in all,

Look and see how wide the heaven expandeth,

Earth's enclosing bounds how small!

Shame it is, if your proud-swelling glory

May not fill this narrow room!

Why, then, strive so vainly, oh, ye proud ones!

To escape your mortal doom?

Though your name, to distant regions bruited,

O'er the earth be widely spread,

Though full many a lofty-sounding title

On your house its lustre shed,

Death at all this pomp and glory spurneth

When his hour draweth nigh,

Shrouds alike th' exalted and the humble,

Levels lowest and most high.

Where are now the bones of stanch Fabricius?

Brutus, Cato--where are they?

Lingering fame, with a few graven letters,

Doth their empty name display.

But to know the great dead is not given

From a gilded name alone;

Nay, ye all alike must lie forgotten,

'Tis not _you_ that fame makes known.

Fondly do ye deem life's little hour

Lengthened by fame's mortal breath;

There but waits you--when this, too, is taken--

At the last a second death.