Featured Poem: Elegy by Chidiock Tichborne

The Communications and Marketing team read this poem recently, and aside from puzzling over some of the lines and phrases (who has heard of ‘a frost of cares’, or likewise ‘a dish of pain’?), it proved to bring out more than a few deep thoughts. On first reading the person behind the verse seems to be troubled and young – a sad combination – but also not at a complete loss. A sense of unnoticed talent or achievement seems present in the lines ‘my tale was heard, and yet it was not told’ and ‘I saw the world, and yet I was not seen’, and even a strange sort of fulfilment can be found in ‘And now I die, and now I was but made’.

Chidiock Tichborne wrote this poem shortly before his execution at the age of 28. Why not take a read of the poem first, and then discover more of his story, which will no doubt give yet another perception to this deceptively simple verse.

Elegy

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:
The day is past, 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 is not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death, and found it in my 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;
The glass is full, and now the glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

Chidiock Tichborne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *