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“…they no power have, unlesse to dye”: Margaret Cavendish’s ‘Of the Shortnesse of Mans Life, and his foolish Ambition’ (1653) and Edward Collier’s Still Life with a Volume of Wither’s ‘Emblemes’ (1696), Hannah Yip

This article explores the vanity of human life as represented in a poem, ‘Of the Shortnesse of Mans Life, and his foolish Ambition’ (1653) by Margaret Cavendish, and a vanitas painting, Still Life with a Volume of Wither’s ‘Emblemes’ (1696) by Edward Collier. These artefacts will be explored within the wider context of post-Civil War 1650s Britain and its prosperous recovery in the 1690s, demonstrating how both artefacts, produced in very different environments, could be seen to constitute a traditional early modern emblem in their portrayal of the brevity of human life.

Date created: 
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Attribution for this resource:
“…they no power have, unlesse to dye”: Margaret Cavendish’s ‘Of the Shortnesse of Mans Life, and his foolish Ambition’ (1653) and Edward Collier’s Still Life with a Volume of Wither’s ‘Emblemes’ (1696), Hannah Yip, All rights reserved.