THE BREVITY OF LIFE
An hour after hour inconceivably goes by:
A forebear lived, then you, now an heir came to life.
In brief: you won't be next day, what you are today,
And since you lived, they'll call you he who passed away;
Sound, shade, smoke, wind, flash, word1 - that's what life is known for.
The sun which once passed by will not rise ever more,
Like a wheel with no brake fleeting time runs away,
Many who yearn for old age were thrown off astray2.
Just now when you are thinking, poor soul, you die out;
Between death and birth our life hardly marks about
A fourth of an instant; for many another
The cradle became a grave, a tomb their mother.
Translated by Michael J. Mikoś
1 'Word' - Naborowski speaks literally here about 'voice and point', i.e. vowels and consonants. The whole set phrase was used to show the quickly passing time.
2 Many people who plan to live long fall off the wheel of Fortune.