Ambitious to destroy

We seem ambitious, God’s whole work t’undo; 
Of nothing he made us, and we strive too, 
To bring our selves to nothing back; and we 
Do what we can, to do’t so soon as he. 
With new diseases on our selves we war, 
And with new physic, a worse engine far. 
Thus man, this world’s vice-emperor, in whom 
All faculties, all graces are at home 
(And if in other creatures they appear, 
They’re but man’s ministers and legates there 
To work on their rebellions, and reduce 
Them to civility, and to man’s use); 
This man, whom God did woo, and loath t’attend 
Till man came up, did down to man descend, 
This man, so great, that all that is, is his, 
O what a trifle, and poor thing he is! 
If man were anything, he’s nothing now; 
Help, or at least some time to waste, allow 
T’his other wants, yet when he did depart 
With her whom we lament, he lost his heart.
—from An Anatomy of the World (on the untimely death of Mistress Elizabeth Drury)


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