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Three Short Elegies

Word count: 211

Song Cycle by Gerald Finzi (1901 - 1956)

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1. Life a right shadow is


Life a right shadow is,
For it is long to appear,
then it is spent,
and death's long night draws near:
Shadows are moving, light,
And is there aught so moving as is this?
When it is most in sight,
It steals away,
and none can tell how, where,
So near our cradles to our
coffins are.


2. This world a hunting is


This world a hunting is,
The prey poor man,
The Nimrod fierce is death.
His speedy greyhounds are
Lust, sickness, envy, care,
Strife that ne'er falls amiss,
With all those ills which haunt us
While we breathe.
Now if by chance we fly
Of these the eager chase,
Old age with stealing pace
Casts up his nets,
and there we panting die.


3. This life, which seems so fair


This Life, which seems so fair,
Is like a bubble blown up in the air
By sporting children's breath,
Who chase it everywhere
And strive who can most motion it bequeath.
And though it sometimes seem of its own might
Like to an eye of gold to be fixed there,
And firm to hover in that empty height,
That only is because it is so light.
But in that pomp it doth not long appear;
For when 'tis most admired, in a thought,
Because it erst was nought, it turns to nought.


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