“Adieu, Farewell Earth’s Bliss” by Thomas Nashe

physic – health
devour – consume
quickly vain – hopeless
heritage – birthright, destiny

Adieu, Farewell Earth’s Bliss

Questions and Answers

1. This poem is classified as a lyric. What qualities make it this type of poem?
A lyric is a type of poetry in which the voice of the poem (in this case, the narrator) expresses personal feelings or perspectives. In this poem, the voice is clearly religious and is criticizing the rich, the vain, and the ignorant.
2. The first stanza of the poem alludes to “life’s lustful joys” and also to Death’s “darts.” With what mythological figure is Nashe associating with Death?
Nashe is comparing Death to Cupid. The inference relies on the lustful joys (i.e. love), and the darts (i.e. arrows).
3. The mentioning of Helen and Hector, both characters of classical epics, is an example of what literary device?
Referencing characters from Homer’s The Illiad, Nashe is using allusion to show how the most beautiful and the bravest both eventually meet their matches in death.
4. “Wit with his wantonness” is an example of what type of sound device?
The repetition of the ‘w’ sound is called consonance.
5. What is the tone of the poem?
Answers may vary. Example: The poem is discussing the inevitability of death. Its tone is reflective, non-humorous, but also not too grim.
6. What do you feel was Nashe’s purpose for writing this lyric?
Answers may vary. Example: Nashe seems to be communicating that no matter how rich, strong, beautiful, or witty, everyone must eventually succumb to death, so we should pray for God’s mercy.

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