Victorious Men of Earth.
This little moral sonnet hath such a pointed application to the heroes of the foregoing and following ballads, that I cannot help placing it here, though the date of its composition is of a much later period. It is extracted from "Cupid and Death," a Masque, by J. S. [James Shirley] presented Mar. 26, 1653. London, printed 1653, 4to.
VICTORIOUS men of earth, no more
Proclaim how wide your empires are;
Though you binde 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 yee to the croud of common men.
Devouring famine, plague, and war,
Each able to undo mankind,
Death's servile emissaries are:
Nor to these alone confin'd,
He hath at will
More quaint and subtle wayes to kill;
A smile or kiss, as he will use the art,
Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.