Monday, 12 September 2011


Tower of London - Traitor's Gate

Written in the Tower of London Before his Execution

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain;
The day is past, and yet I saw no sun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

My tale was heard and yet it was not told,
My fruit is fallen and yet my leaves are green,
My youth is spent and yet I am not old,
I saw the world and yet I was not seen;
My thread is cut and yet it is not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death and found it in my womb,
I looked for life and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I was but made:
My glass is full, and now my glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done. 

Chidiock Tichborne
1558 - 1586

In spite of this very moving elegy, Tichborne was not primarily a poet.
He was a conspirator in the Babington Plot, six men who were pledged to kill Queen Elizabeth
and restore the Kingdom to the Church of Rome.