Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sum up the human condition. In six lines.

Have you heard of the poet, Fulke Greville (1554-1628), who served both Queen Elizabeth I (she knighted him as First Baron Lord Brooke) and King James I? In a rhyming elegy, he was charged with extreme penuriousness. Yet, ironically enough, he was also reputed to be munificent to contemporary writers. What amazes me about him is how accurately he describes the human condition in the first six line of his poem, Chorus Sacerdotum from the Tragedy of Mustapha:

Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound.
What meaneth nature by these diverse laws?
Passion and reason self-division cause.

Do read the entire poem here:

How could a courtier born with a silver spoon in his mouth, as the old clich̩ goes, be so devastatingly world-weary Рalmost like The Buddha? I simply cannot figure it out.

Brief bio sketch: and

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