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A Discourse of Life and Death   By: (1549-1623)

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[Transcriber's Note:

This text is intended for users whose text readers cannot use the "real" (unicode/utf 8) version of the file. Characters that could not be fully displayed have been "unpacked" and shown in brackets:

[em], [en], [om], [on], [un] vowel with overline (for following nasal)

The "oe" character is shown as two separate letters.]

A Discourse of Life and Death .

Written in French by Ph. Mornay .

Antonius, A Tragoedie written also in French by Ro. Garnier .

Both done in English by the Countesse of Pembroke .

[Illustration: publisher's device]


Printed for William Ponsonby .


[Illustration: Emblem]


A Discourse of Life and Death,

Written in French by Ph. Mornay .

Sieur du Plessis Marly .

It seemes to mee strange, and a thing much to be marueiled, that the laborer to repose himselfe hasteneth as it were the course of the Sunne: that the Mariner rowes with all force to attayne the porte, and with a ioyfull crye salutes the descryed land: that the traueiler is neuer quiet nor content till he be at the ende of his voyage: and that wee in the meane while tied in this world to a perpetuall taske, tossed with continuall tempest, tyred with a rough and combersome way, cannot yet see the ende of our labour but with griefe, nor behold our porte but with teares, nor approch our home and quiet abode but with horrour and trembling. This life is but a Penelopes web, wherein we are alwayes doing and vndoing: a sea open to all windes, which sometime within, sometime without neuer cease to torment vs: a weary iorney through extreame heates, and coldes, ouer high mountaynes, steepe rockes, and theeuish deserts. And so we terme it in weauing at this web, in rowing at this oare, in passing this miserable way. Yet loe when death comes to ende our worke, when she stretcheth out her armes to pull vs into the porte, when after so many dangerous passages, and lothsome lodgings she would conduct vs to our true home and resting place: in steede of reioycing at the ende of our labour, of taking comfort at the sight of our land, of singing at the approch of our happie mansion, we would faine, (who would beleeue it?) retake our worke in hand, we would againe hoise saile to the winde, and willinglie vndertake our iourney anew. No more then remember we our paines, our shipwracks and dangers are forgotten: we feare no more the trauailes nor the theeues. Contrarywise, we apprehende death as an extreame payne, we doubt it as a rocke, we flye it as a theefe. We doe as litle children, who all the day complayne, and when the medicine is brought them, are no longer sicke: as they who all the weeke long runne vp and downe the streetes with payne of the teeth, and seeing the Barber comming to pull them out, feele no more payne: as those tender and delicate bodyes, who in a pricking pleurisie complaine, crie out, and cannot stay for a Surgion, and when they see him whetting his Launcet to cut the throate of the disease, pull in their armes, and hide them in the bed, as, if he were come to kill them. We feare more the cure then the disease, the surgion then the paine, the stroke then the impostume. We haue more sence of the medicins bitternes soone gone, then of a bitter languishing long continued: more feeling of death the end of our miseries, then the endlesse misery of our life. And whence proceedeth this folly and simplicitie? we neyther knowe life, nor death. We feare that we ought to hope for, and wish for that we ought to feare. We call life a continuall death: and death the issue of a liuing death, and the entrance of a neuer dying life. Now what good, I pray you, is there in life, that we should so much pursue it? or what euill is there in death, that we should so much eschue it? Nay what euill is there not in life? and what good is there not in death? Consider all the periods of this life. We enter it in teares; we passe it in sweate, we ende it in sorow... Continue reading book >>

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