Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | June 1, 2009

POEM OF THE DAY: The Calculation of Life

by Jean Antoine de Baif (1532 – 1589).

The Calculation of Life

Thou art aged; but recount,
Since thy early life began,
What may be the just amount
Thou shouldst number of thy span:
How much to thy debts belong,                            5
How much when vain fancy caught thee,
How much to the giddy throng,
How much to the poor who sought thee,
How much to thy lawyer’s wiles,
How much to thy menial crew,                            10
How much to thy lady’s smiles,
How much to thy sick-bed due,
How much for thy hours of leisure,
For thy hurrying to and fro,
How much for each idle pleasure,—                     15
If the list thy memory know.
Every wasted, misspent day,
Which regret can ne’er recall,—
If all these thou tak’st away,
Thou wilt find thy age but small:                         20
That thy years falsely told,
And, even now, thou art not old.

(Transl. by Louisa Stuart Costello)


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