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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

I Know That All beneath the Moon Decays

William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585–1649)

I KNOW that all beneath the moon decays,

And what by mortals in this world is brought

In time’s great periods shall return to naught;

That fairest states have fatal nights and days.

I know how all the Muse’s heavenly lays,

With toil of sprite which is so dearly bought,

As idle sounds, of few or none are sought;

And that naught lighter is than airy praise.

I know frail beauty like the purple flower

To which one morn oft birth and death affords;

That love a jarring is of mind’s accords,

Where sense and will invassall reason’s power.

Know what I list, this all cannot me move,

But that, O me! I both must write and love.