Anima Anceps

Till death have broken

Sweet life’s love-token,

Till all be spoken

That shall be said,

What dost thou praying,

O soul, and playing

With song and saying,

Things flown and fled?

For this we know not –


That fresh springs flow not

And fresh griefs grow not

When men are dead;

When strange years cover

Lover and lover,

And joys are over

And tears are shed.

If one day’s sorrow

Mar the day’s morrow –

If man’s life borrow


And man’s death pay –

If souls once taken,

If lives once shaken,

Arise, awaken,

By night, by day –

Why with strong crying

And years of sighing,

Living and dying,

Fast ye and pray?

For all your weeping,


Waking and sleeping,

Death comes to reaping

And takes away.

Though time rend after

Roof-tree from rafter,

A little laughter

Is much more worth

Than thus to measure

The hour, the treasure,

The pain, the pleasure,


The death, the birth;

Grief, when days alter,

Like joy shall falter;

Song-book and psalter,

Mourning and mirth.

Live like the swallow;

Seek not to follow

Where earth is hollow

Under the earth.