Poem Hunter
Death The Leveller
(September 1596 – October 1666 / London, England)

Death The Leveller

The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crookèd scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill:
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath
When they, pale captives, creep to death.

The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds!
Upon Death's purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds.
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb:
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.

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Comments (6)

Buddhism has revealed this real truth of the universe. It also describes this poem.
Amazing that a poem written 500 years ago speaks of equality. Universal truth...." there is no armour against fate"
This and Longfellow's psalm of life are excellent guides
This poem was said to have terrified O.Cromwell!
all things faint to dust
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