"death swallowes all"
Thanks to Dario, I have this fearsome feature above for today's depiction of Death to accompany a bit of second-rate dramatics penned by Henry Chettle (c. 1564 – c. 1607) in his play of 1602, The Tragedy of Hoffman or A Reuenge for a Father:
I pray you thinke me not in passion dull;The speaker is Hoffman, who calls to his servant Lorrique in referring to the 'death' of Lucibella, but she lives on, so Death hasn't swallowed her yet. Nonetheless, "death swallowes all," and that's all that I need to know in my search for possible sources for the image of an all-devouring death found in John Donne and John Milton, particularly since Chettle was quite popular in his day, even if second-rate, but all the better for my purpose, for the lesser playwrights oftener dealt in clichés.
I must withdraw, and weepe, my heart is full.
Oh reuerent man, thou bearst the richest fruite;
That euer fell in the vnripired spring,
Goe lay her soft, she had ill fate to fall;
But rich or faire or strong, death swallowes all,
Hola! Lorrique, leaue our horse; draw neere.
Helpe me to sing a hymne vnto the fates
Compos'd of laughing interiections.
I suspect that the figure of Death devouring all things was therefore rather common.