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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Duke of Byron is Condemned to Death

By George Chapman (1559?–1634)

From the ‘Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron’

BY horror of death, let me alone in peace,

And leave my soul to me, whom it concerns;

You have no charge of it; I feel her free:

How she doth rouse, and like a falcon stretch

Her silver wings; a threatening death with death;

At whom I joyfully will cast her off.

I know this body but a sink of folly,

The groundwork and raised frame of woe and frailty;

The bond and bundle of corruption;

A quick corse, only sensible of grief,

A walking sepulchre, or household thief:

A glass of air, broken with less than breath,

A slave bound face to face to death, till death.

And what said all you more? I know, besides,

That life is but a dark and stormy night

Of senseless dreams, terrors, and broken sleeps;

A tyranny, devising pains to plague

And make man long in dying, racks his death;

And death is nothing: what can you say more?

I bring a long globe and a little earth,

Am seated like earth, betwixt both the heavens,

That if I rise, to heaven I rise; if fall,

I likewise fall to heaven; what stronger faith

Hath any of your souls? what say you more?

Why lose I time in these things? Talk of knowledge,

It serves for inward use. I will not die

Like to a clergyman; but like the captain

That prayed on horseback, and with sword in hand,

Threatened the sun, commanding it to stand;

These are but ropes of sand.