by Chidiock Tichbourne (1558? - 1586)

My prime of youth is but a frost of...
Language: English 
My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain;
My life is fled, and yet I saw no sun;
And now I live, and now my life is done.

[My tale was heard, and yet it was not told;
My fruit is fallen and yet my leaves are green;
My youth is spent and yet I am not old;
I saw the world and yet I was not seen;
My thread is cut, and yet it was not spun;
And now I live, and now my life is done.]1

I sought my death and found it in the womb,
I looked for life and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die and now I was but made;
My glass is full, and now my glass is run;
And now I live, and yet my life is done.

J. Mundy sets stanzas 1-2

About the headline (FAQ)

According to Lyrics from the Song-Books of the Elizabethan Age, ed. by A. H. Bullen, London, John C. Nimmo, 1887, page 80, Mundy replaces the second stanza with the following:
The Spring is past, and yet it hath not sprung!
The fruit is dead, and yet the leaves be green!
My youth is gone, and yet I am but young!
I saw the World and yet I was not seen!
My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun!
And now I live, and now my life is done.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 18
Word count: 180