The Seafarer
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58 Now, therefore, my thought roams beyond the confines of my heart; my mind roams widely with the ocean tide over the whale's home, over earth's expanses, and comes back to me avid and covetous; the lone flier calls and urges the spirit irresistibly along the whale-path over the waters of oceans, because for me the pleasures of the Lord are more enkindling than this dead life, this ephemeral life on land. I do not believe that material riches will last eternally for him. One of three things will ever become a matter of uncertainty for any man before his last day: ill-health or old age or the sword's hostile violence will crush the life from the doomed man in his heedlessness.
72 For every man, therefore, praise from the living, speaking out afterwards, is the best of epitaphs: that, before he has to be on his way, he accomplishes gains against the malice of fiends, brave deeds in the devil's despite, so that the sons of men may afterwards extol him, and his praise may endure for ever and ever among the angels, and the splendour of his eternal life and his pleasure endure among the celestial hosts.
80 The days have been slipping away, and all the pomps of the kingdom of earth. There are not now kings nor emperors nor gold-giving lords like those that used once to be, when they performed the greatest deeds of glory among themselves and lived in most noble renown. This whole company has perished; the pleasures have slipped away. The weaker remain and occupy the world; in toil they use it. Splendour had been humbled. Earth's nobility ages and grows sear just as each man now does throughout the middle-earth. Old age advances upon him, his face grows pallid, grey-haired he mourns: he is conscious that his former friends, the sons of princes, have been committed to the earth. Then, when life fails him, his body will be unable to taste sweetness of feel pain or stir a hand or think with the mind. Although a brother may wish to strew the grave with gold for his kinsman, to heap up by the dead man's side various treasures that he would like to go with him, the gold he hides in advance while he lives here cannot be of help to the soul which is full of sins, in the face of God's awesomeness.