“The present life of man upon earth, O King, seems to me in comparison with that time which is unknown to us like the swift flight of a sparrow through the mead-hall where you sit at supper in winter, with your Ealdormen and thanes, while the fire blazes in the midst and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms of rain or snow are raging abroad.
The sparrow, flying in at one door and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry tempest, but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, passing from winter to winter again.
So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all.”
Saint Bede: ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’. Chapter XIII
The illustration is of a stained glass window of Saint Bede in Mansfield College chapel, Oxford.