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- The glories of our blood and state
- Are shadows, not substantial things;
- There is no armor 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 crooked 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 murmuriong 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.
- James Shirley
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