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On The Shortness of Human Life

A Poem by John Ridge

February 30*, 1819
Foreign Missions School
Cornwall, Connecticut

 [Poem on page 59 of Journal of Cherokee Studies Volume 1, No. 1 (Published 1976 by Museum of the Cherokee Indian)

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Paul Ridenour email


Like as a damask Rose you see,
Or like the blossom on the tree,

Or like the morning to the day,
Or like the Sun,
Or like the Shade,
Or like the Gourd which Jonas had:

Even such is MAN! Whose thread is spun,
Drawn out and cut, and so, 'tis done.

Withers the Rose,
The Blossom blasts,
The flower fades,
The morning hastes,

The sun is set, shadows fly,
The gourd consumes, - so mortals die.


* = Date is incorrect since February has only 28 days in non-leap years

Original source: Payne Papers (transcript), Ayer Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, Vol. VIII, page 82.

John Ridge (1802 - 1839)