The Vanity Of This World


Andreas Gryphius

Look anywhere you want, the world is empty show.

What somebody builds today, someone else soon tears down;

Where a city now stands will be a grassy mound,

A place that only shepherds grazing their flocks will know.

What blooms so fair at sunrise, by noon is trampled low;

What bravely struts and struggles soon turns to ash and bone;

No material lasts forever, no brass, no polished stone.

One moment fortune smiles, the next brings bitter sorrow.

Stories of our mighty deeds like dreams must fade away.

How then should Humanity—Time's toy—ever hope to stay?

Oh think, what are those things we prize beyond compare,

Mere shadows, dust and wind—all worthless, false and empty;

Wildflowers glimpsed in passing and never seen again!

And for that which is immortal, no one seems to care.


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