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James Shirley

There is no armor against fate.

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Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.

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The honor is overpaid, When he that did the act is commentator.

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Only the actions of the just, Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.

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On Her Dancing

I stood and saw my Mistress dance,
Silent, and with so fixed an eye,
Some might suppose me in a trance:
But being asked why,
By one I who knew I was in love,
I could not but impart
My wonder, to behold her move
So nimbly with a marble heart.

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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. Scepter and crown must tumble down, And, in the dust, be equal made With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

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To a Lady Upon a Looking-Glass Sent

When this crystal shall present
Your beauty to your eye,
Think that lovely face was meant
To dress another by.
For not to make them proud,
These glasses are allowed
To those are fair,
But to compare
The inward beauty with the outward grace,
And make them fair in soul as well as face.

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Song of Nuns

O fly, my soul! what hangs upon
Thy drooping wings,
And weighs them down
With love of gaudy mortal things?

The Sun is now i' the east; each shade,
As he doth rise,
Is shorter made,
That earth may lessen to our eyes.

Oh, be not careless then and play
Until the star of peace
Hide all his beams in dark recess.
Poor pilgrims needs must lose their way
When all the shadows do increase.

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A Hymn

O FLY, my Soul! What hangs upon
   Thy drooping wings,
   And weighs them down
With love of gaudy mortal things?

The Sun is now i' the east: each shade
   As he doth rise
   Is shorter made,
That earth may lessen to our eyes.

O be not careless then and play
   Until the Star of Peace
Hide all his beams in dark recess!
Poor pilgrims needs must lose their way,
When all the shadows do increase.

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Sililoquy On Death

I have not lived
After the rate to fear another world.
We come from nothing into life, a time
We measure with a short breath, and that often
Made tedious, too, with our own cares that fill it;
Which, like so many atoms in a sunbeam,
But crowd and jostle one another. All,
From the adored purple to the haircloth,
Must centre in a shade; and they that have
Their virtues to wait on them, bravely mock
The rugged storms that so much fright them here,
When their soul's launch'd by death into a sea
That's ever calm.

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