Literary Meditations

A Mind's Journey

Are They Shadows – poem by Samuel Daniel

  • Author: Samuel Daniel (1563-1619)
  • Title: ‘Are They Shadows’
  • Year: 1610
  • Pic: Paul Strand, New YorkNegative 1915; print 1916. J. Paul Getty Museum


“Are they shadows that we see?
And can shadows pleasure give?
Pleasures only shadows be
Cast by bodies we conceive
And are made the things we deem
In those figures which they seem.
But these pleasures vanish fast
Which by shadows are expressed;
Pleasures are not, if they last;
In their passing is their best.
Glory is most bright and gay
In a flash, and so away.
Feed apace* then, greedy eyes,
On the wonder you behold;
Take it sudden as it flies,
Though you take it not to hold.
When your eyes have done their part,
Thought must length* it in the heart.”
*apace: quickly
*lenght: lenghten

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