Five Termes, there be, which five I doe apply
To all, that was, and is, and shall be done.
The first, and last, is that ETERNITIE,
Which, neither shall have End, nor, was begunne.
BEGINNING, is the next; which, is a space
(Or moment rather) scarce imaginarie,
Made, when the first Materiall, formed was;
And, then, forbidden, longer time time tarry.
TIME entred, when, BEGINNING had an Ending,
And, is a Progresse, all the workes of Nature,
Within the circuit of it, comprehending,
Ev’n till the period, of the Outward-creature.
END, is the fourth, of those five Termes I meane;
(As briefe, as was Beginning) and, ordayned,
To set the last of moments, to that Scaene,
Which, on this Worlds wide Stage, is entertayned.
The fifth, we EVERLASTING, fitly, call;
For, though, it once begunne, yet shall it never
Admit, of any future-end, at all;
But, be extended onward, still, for ever.
The knowledge of these Termes, and of what action,
To each of them belongs, would set an end,
To many Controversies, and Distractions,
Which doe so many trouble, and offend.
TIME’S nature, by the Fading-flowre, appeares;
Which, is a Type, of Transitory things:
The Circled-snake, ETERNITIE declares;
Within whose Round, each fading Creature, springs.
Some Riddles more, to utter, I intended,
But, lo; a sudden stop, my words have ended.
George Wither (1588 - 1667 / England)
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