art

The Dance of Death

18th century German oil painting. Artist unknown.

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Mutability


We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; one wand’ring thought pollutes the day.
We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;
It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free.
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Cloud Pass

If once you can go through the Cloud-pass,

Then South, North, East, West,-you can go freely in any direction.

Resting at night, travelling by day,-all subject or object forgotten.

Wherever you plant your foot, there is purity and coolness.

Go through the Cloud pass and there is no more the old road.

The sky is blue and the sun bright,-the mountains are your home.

The wheel of the world turning and changing,-hard for men to attain truth !

But he who moves through it with folded hands, is noble-a golden dragon indeed.

Daito

Image: Kossu Dragon Textile Panel. C. 19th century. China.

Sleep


Do but consider what an excellent thing sleep is…that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Who complains of want? of wounds? of cares? of great men’s oppressions? of captivity? whilst he sleepeth? Beggars in their beds take as much pleasure kings: can we therefore surfeit on this delicate Ambrosia? Can we drink too much of that whereof to taste too little tumbles us into a churchyard, and to use it but indifferently throws us into Bedlam? No, no, look upon Endymion, the moon’s minion, who slept three score and fifteen years, and was not a hair the worse for it.

Thomas Dekker

Image:,’The Sleeping Endymion’. Simeon Solomon. 1887.