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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 World’s a Bubble

By Francis Bacon (1561–1626)

From ‘Works,’ Vol. xiv.

THE WORLD’S a bubble, and the life of man

less than a span;

In his conception wretched, from the womb

so to the tomb:

Curst from the cradle, and brought up to years

with cares and fears.

Who then to frail mortality shall trust,

But limns the water, or but writes in dust.

Yet since with sorrow here we live opprest,

what life is best?

Courts are but only superficial schools

to dandle fools.

The rural parts are turned into a den

of savage men.

And where’s the city from all vice so free,

But may be termed the worst of all the three?

Domestic cares afflict the husband’s bed,

or pains his head.

Those that live single take it for a curse,

or do things worse.

Some would have children; those that have them moan,

or wish them gone.

What is it then to have or have no wife,

But single thraldom, or a double strife?

Our own affections still at home to please

is a disease:

To cross the seas to any foreign soil

perils and toil.

Wars with their noise affright us: when they cease,

we are worse in peace.

What then remains, but that we still should cry

Not to be born, or being born to die.