A Ballad Of Burdens "This Is The End Of Every Man's Desire"
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

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"This Is The End Of Every Man's Desire"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: This grim poem, mainly an address to a woman who sells her love, is a warning that while lust is universal, and the gratifying of it often an intoxication, the fruits of love only for the sake of pleasure are bitter. Even when the woman is in her prime, there is an emptiness and sterility in her love, and her actions are a travesty of love. And when her youth begins to fade, she will be desolate, left with nothing but regrets. The poem concludes with an "Envoy," addressed to all men who take pleasure in light love:

Princes, and ye whom pleasure quickeneth,
Heed well this rhyme before your pleasure tire;
For life is sweet, but after life is death.
This is the end of every man's desire.