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Short poem

Edmund Waller (1606-1687)

Of the Last Verses in the Book

              1When we for age could neither read nor write,
              2The subject made us able to indite.
              3The soul, with nobler resolutions deckt,
              4The body stooping, does herself erect:
              5No mortal parts are requisite to raise
              6Her, that unbodied can her Maker praise.

              7The seas are quiet, when the winds give o'er,
              8So calm are we, when passions are no more:
              9For then we know how vain it was to boast
            10Of fleeting things, so certain to be lost.
            11Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
            12Conceal that emptiness, which age descries.

            13The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
            14Lets in new light through chinks that time has made;
            15Stronger by weakness, wiser men become
            16As they draw near to their eternal home:
            17Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
            18That stand upon the threshold of the new.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Edmund Waller, Poems (1686).
First publication date: 1686
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.444; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/14

Form: couplets

Other poems by Edmund Waller