In its celebration of 400 years of William Byrd, Millennium of Music cites thoughts on aging from William Byrd and from Seneca. Here's Byrd—
As Kerry McCarthy (whose books on both Tallis and Byrd are to be commended) writes in the notes for this disc, the defining meditation by Byrd in his late years is the lovely English setting from that last songbook in 1611, “Retire, my soul, consider thine estate”:
“A life lived and choices made” she writes, are summed up at the end of “Retire, my soul” in “the poignant final lines, sung twice to imprint them on the ear:
Write all these down, in pale Death’s reckoning tables,
Thy days will seem but dreams, thy hopes but fables.
And here's Seneca—
Kerry McCarthy reminds us that Byrd quoted the Stoic philosopher Seneca in his last collection. It is a poignant meditation for those of us of certain age:
The sun’s light is sweetest at the very moment of its setting.