Elegy for himself
Pre 20th century
Elegy - A sad, sorrowful poem.
This poem is split into two halves, down the centre, from top to bottom. Almost each line is a paradox. The first half of each line seems to be the good in his life, and all the things which he has done, The second half points out that the good he has done, and the hopes for the future which he had, are now worthless, and invalid. For example:
"My crop of corn is but a field of tares."
This is saying his crop of corn, i.e. his life, his achievements, and the things which he has to his name, are now worthless. Tares are a practically worthless animal feed, they are weeds. This line is quite simply saying that he is finished, and that his life is now pointless.