by Anonymous / Unidentified Author

Whether men do laugh or weep
Language: English 
Whether men do laugh or weep,
Whether they do wake or sleep,
Whether they die young or old,
Whether they feel heat or cold,
There is underneath the sun
Nothing in true earnest done.

All our pride is but a jest.
None are worst and none are best.
Grief and joy and hope and fear
Play their pageants ev'rywhere.
Vain opinion all doth sway,
And the world is but a play.

Powers above in clouds do sit,
Marking our poor apish wit,
That so lamely, without state,
Their high glory imitate.
No ill can be felt but pain,
And that happy men disdain.

R. Vaughan Williams sets stanzas 1-2

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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: Pauline Kroger

This text was added to the website: 2009-11-16
Line count: 18
Word count: 103