Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Uncertainty alone is certain here…

This is excerpted from Benjamin Franklin by Carl Van Doren, which is probably the best and most comprehensive biography on Franklin. The text below is one of his earliest known writings, which is an excerpt from an elegy he wrote (probably around the age of 17 or 18) upon the death of a sister-in-law:
O what is Life which we so high esteem
A Bubble, Vapous, Shadow, fleeting Dream
From sordid Dust we sprang & surely must
Or soon or late return to native Dust
What mortal Man even in his best Estate
All Vanity, Pride, Folly and Deceit…
Crowns have their Thorns and Opulence its Bane
And all our Pleasures their Alloy of Pain
All the Vicissitudes of Life declare
Uncertainty alone is certain here…
The complete elegy can also be read in THIS article about the book, back when it was first published, or on page 26 of the paperback.