My Prime of Youth is but a Frost of Cares

Original Text: 
Bodleian Library MS Tanner 169, fol. 79r; facs. in R. S. M. Hirsh's "The Works of Chidiock Tichborne (text)," English Literary Renaissance, 16 (1986): 309-10.
1My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
2My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
4And all my good is but vain hope of gain.
5The day is gone and yet I saw no sun,
6And now I live, and now my life is done.
10I saw the world, and yet I was not seen,
12And now I live, and now my life is done.
13I sought my death and found it in my womb,
14I lookt for life and saw it was a shade,
15I trode the earth and knew it was my tomb,
18And now I live, and now my life is done.


3] tares: weeds Back to Line
7] "My tale was heard, and yet it was not told" (first printed version, in Verses of Prayse and Joye [1586]). Back to Line
8] The: "My" (1586; twice).
dead: "falne" (1586). Back to Line
9] gone: "spent" (1586).
but young: "not old" (1586). Back to Line
11] The oldest of the three classical Greek fates, Atropos, cut the thread of his life with her shears before Lachesis had had an opportunity to spin out the events of his life. Back to Line
16] am: "was" (1586).
but made: only just created Back to Line
17] glass: hour-glass Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.