DEATH'S SUBTLE WAYS
by: James Shirley
- ICTORIOUS men of earth, no more
- Proclaim how wide your empires are;
- Though you bind in every shore
- And your triumphs reach as far
- As night or day,
- Yet you, proud monarchs, must obey
- And mingle with forgotten ashes when
- Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.
- Devouring Famine, Plague, and War,
- Each able to undu mankind,
- Death's servile emissaries are;
- Nor to these alone confined,
- He hath at will
- More quaint and subtle ways to kill;
- A smile or kiss, as he will use the art,
- Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.
POEMS BY JAMES SHIRLEY
'Death's Subtle Ways' was originally
published in Cupid and Death: A Masque (1653).