The Good Funeral Guide (UK)
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
The present life of man, O king, seems to me like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the hall wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry storm; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant.
Source: The Good Funeral Guide
Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede (Wikipedia)