A Dialogue of Birds


As I abroad in fields and woods did walk,
I heard the birds of several things to2 talk,
And on the boughs would gossip, prate, and chat,
And every one discourse of this and that.
“I,” said the Lark, “before the sun do rise,                                 5
And take my flight up to the highest skies,
There sing some notes, to raise Apollo’s head,
For fear that he might lie too long abed.3
And as I mount, or as I come4 down low,
Still do I sing which way soe’er I go.                                           10
Winding my body5 up just like a screw,
So doth my voice wind up a trillo too.
What bird, besides myself, both flies and sings?6
My trillos keep tune7 to my flutt’ring wings.”

“I,” said the Nightingale, “all night do watch,                           15
For fear a serpent should my young ones catch.
To keep back sleep, I several tunes do sing,
Which are so pleasant that they lovers bring8
Into the woods, who list’ning sit, and mark;
When I begin to sing, they cry, ‘hark, hark!’                             20
Stretching my throat to raise my trillos high,
To gain their praises, makes me almost die.”

Then comes the Owl, which says, “Here’s such ado
With your sweet voices,”9 through spite cries, “Wit-a-woo!”

“In winter,” said the Robin, “I should die,                                 25
But that I in a good warm house do fly,
And there do pick up crumbs, which make me fat,
But oft I’m10 scared away with the puss-cat.
If they molest me not, then I grow bold,
And stay so long whilst winter tales are told.                           30
Man superstitiously dares not hurt me,
For if I’m11 killed or hurt ill luck shall be.”

The Sparrow said, “Would our case were no worse,12
But men do with their nets us take by force.13
With guns and bows they shoot us from the trees,                 35
And by small shot, we oft our lives do leese
Because we pick a cherry here and there,
When God knows we do eat them in great fear.14
But men will eat until their bellies15 burst,
And surfeits take; if we eat, we are cursed.                              40
Yet we by Nature are revengèd still:
For eating overmuch themselves they kill.
And if a child do chance to cry and bawl,16
They do us catch17 to please that child withal.
With threads they tie our legs almost to crack,                        45
And18 when we hop away, they pull us back,
And when they cry, “fip, fip!” straight we must come,
And for our pains they’ll give us one small crumb.”

“I wonder,” said Magpie, “you grumble so,
Dame Sparrow; we are used much worse I trow.                    50
For they our tongues do slit, their words to learn,
And with this19 pain, our food we dearly earn.”

“Why,” say the Finches and the Linnets all,
“Do you so prate, Magpie, and so much bawl?20
As if no birds besides were wronged but you,                          55
When we by cruel Man21 are injured too?22
For we to learn their tunes are kept awake,
That with their whistling we no rest can take.
In darkness we are kept, no light must see,
Till we have learned23 their tunes most perfectly.                   60
But Jackdaws, they may dwell their houses nigh,
And build their nests in elms that do grow high,
And there may prate, and fly from place to place,
For why,24 they think they give their house a grace.”

“Lord!” said the Partridge, Cock, Peewit, Snite, and Quail,    65
Pigeons, Larks, “My masters, why d’ye rail?
You’re kept from winter’s cold and summer’s heat,
Are taught new tunes, and have good store of meat.
You have your servants, yet give them no wages,25
Which do make clean your foul and dirty cages,26                  70
When we poor birds are by the dozens killed.
Luxurious men27 us eat till they be filled,
And of our flesh they28 make such cruel waste,
That but some of our limbs will please their taste.
In woodcocks’ thighs they only take delight,                             75
And Partridge wings, which swift were in their flight.
The smaller Lark they eat all at one bite,
But every part is good of Quail and Snite.
The murtherous Hawk they keep, us for to catch,
And teach29 their dogs to crouch, and creep, and watch       80
Until they spring us into30 nets and toils,
And thus, poor creatures, we are made Man’s spoils.
Cruel Nature,31 to make32 us tame and mild!33
They happy are which are more fierce and wild.
O34 would our flesh had been like carrion coarse,                  85
Which to eat35 only famine might enforce.
But when they36 eat us, may they surfeits take;
May they be poor when they a feast37 us make.
The more they eat, the leaner may they grow,
Or else so fat they cannot38 stir nor go.”                                    90

“O,”39 said the Swallow, “let me mourn in black,
For of Man’s cruelty I do not lack.
I am the messenger of summer warm,
Do neither pick their fruit nor eat their corn.40
Yet men41 will take us when alive we be                                    95
(I shake to tell, O horrid cruelty!),42
Beat us alive till we an oil become.
Can there to birds be a worse martyrdom?”

“O Man,43 O Man!44 If we should serve you so,
You would against us your great curses throw.                        100
But Nature, she is good; do not her blame.
We ought to give her thanks, and not exclaim.
For love is Nature’s chiefest law in mind,
Hate but an accident to45 love, we find.
’Tis true, self-preservation is the chief,                                       105
But luxury to Nature is a thief.
Corrupted manners always do breed vice,
Which by persuasion doth the mind entice.
No creature doth usurp so much as Man,
Who thinks himself like God, because he can                           110
Rule other creatures, and make them46 obey;
‘Our souls did never Nature make,’47 say they.
Whatever comes from Nature’s stock and treasure
Created is only to serve their pleasure.
Although the life of bodies comes from Nature,                       115
Yet still the souls come from the great Creator.
And they shall live, though48 we to dust do turn,
Either in bliss, or in hot flames to burn.”

Then came the Parrot with her painted wing,
Spake like an orator in every thing.                                            120
“Sister Jay, neighbor Daw, and gossip49 Pie,
We taken are not, like the rest, to die,
Only to talk and prate the best we can,
To imitate to th’life the speech of Man.
And just like men we pass our time away,                                 125
For many, but not one wise word we50 say,
And speak as gravely nonsense as the best,
As full of empty words as all the rest.
The Nature we will praise, because we51 have
Tongues given us like52 men, our lives to save.                        130
Mourn not, my friends, but sing in sunshine gay,
And while you’ve time, joy in yourselves you may.
What though your lives be short?53 Yet merry be,
Do54 not complain, but in delights agree.”

Straight came the titmouse with a frowning face,55                135
And hopped about, as in an angry pace.
“My masters all, what’s matter? Are you mad?56
Is no regard unto the public had?
Are private home affairs cast all aside?
Your young ones cry for meat; ’tis time to chide.57                  140
For shame, disperse yourselves, and some pains58 take,
Both for the public59 and your young ones’60 sake.
And sit not61 murmuring against62 great Man,
Unless some way63 revenge ourselves we can.
Alas,64 alas!65 We want their shape, for66 they                         145
By it have power to make us all67 obey.
They can lift, bear, strike, pull, thrust,68 turn, and wind
What ways they will, which makes them new arts69 find.
’Tis not their wit that doth70 inventions make,
But ’tis their shapes, which height, breadth, depth can take. 150
Thus they can measure this71 great worldly ball,
And numbers set to prove the truth of all.
What creature else has72 arms, or goes73 upright,
Or has74 all sorts of motion75 so unite?
Man by his shape can Nature imitate,                                        155
Can govern, rule, and can new arts76 create.
Then come away, since talk no good can do,
And what we cannot help, submit unto.”
Then some their wives, others77 their husbands call,
To gather sticks to build their nests withal.                              160
Some shrews did scold, winds had destroyed their nest;78
They had no place where to abide or rest.79
For all they’d80 gathered with great pains81 and care,
Those sticks and straws were blown they knew not where.
But none did labor like the little Wren,                                      165
To build for her young ones her nest again,82
For she doth lay83 more eggs than all the rest,
And with much art and skill84 doth build her nest.
The young85 made love, and kissed each other’s bill;
The Cock caught86 flies to give his mistress still.                      170
The Yellow Hammer cried, “’tis wet, ’tis wet!
For it will rain before the sun doth set.”
Taking their flight as each mind thought it best,
Some flew abroad, and some home to their nest.
Some gathered corn, which out of sheaves was87 strewed,   175
And some did pick up seed that new was88 sowed.
Some courage had89 a cherry ripe to take;
Others caught90 flies when they a feast would91 make.
And some did pick up ants and eggs, though small,
And brought them92 home to feed their young withal.          180
When every crop93 was filled, and night drew nigh,94
Then did they stretch their wings fast home to fly.95
For like as96 men, when they from markets97 come,
Set out alone, but every mile adds some,
Until a troop of neighbors get together,                                     185
So do a flight of birds in sunshine weather.
When to their nests they got,98 Lord99 how they bawled!100
And everyone to his next neighbor called,101
Asking each other if they weary were,
Rejoicing at past dangers and great fear.                                   190
When they their wings had pruned, and young ones fed,
Sat gossiping before they went to bed.
The Blackbird said, “Let us a carol sing102
Before we go to bed103 this fine evening.”
The Thrushes, Linnets, Finches all took104 parts,                     195
A harmony105 by Nature, not by arts.
But all their songs were hymns to God on high,
Praising his name, blessing his majesty.
And when they asked for gifts, to God did pray
He would be pleased to give them a fair day.                            200
At last they drowsy grew, and heavy were106 to sleep,
And then instead of singing, cried, “Peep, peep!”
Just as the eye, when sense is locking up,107
Is neither open wide, nor yet quite shut,108
So by degrees a voice is falling found,109                                   205
For110 as a shadow, so doth waste111 a sound.
Thus went to rest each head under each wing,
For sleep brings peace to every living thing.

A Dialogue between Melancholy and Mirth

As I sat1 musing by myself alone,
My thoughts brought2 several things to3 work upon.
Some did large houses build, and stately towers,
And some made4 orchards, gardens, and fine bowers;
Some did5 in arts and sciences delight,                                      5
And some6 in contradiction, reason’s fight;
Some governed like as kings do7 rule a state,
And some8 as republics, which monarchs9 hate;
Some privy-counsellors and judges were,10
And some, as lawyers, pleaded at the bar;11                             10
Some priests, which do preach peace and godly life;
Others tumultuous were,12 and full of strife;
Some were13 debauched, did swagger, wench,14 and swear,
And some poor thoughts did15 tremble out of fear;
Some jealous were,16 and all things did17 suspect,                  15
Others so18 careless, every thing neglect;
Some thoughts turned shepherds, nymphs,19 and shepherdesses,
So kind, as they did give each other20 kisses;
Th’expressed all21 sorts of lovers and their passions,
And several22 ways of courtship, and fine fashions;               20
Some took23 strong towns, won battles in the field,24
And those that lost were forced to them to yield;25
Some were26 heroic, generous, and free,
And some so base, to27 crouch with flattery;
Some dying were, half in the grave did28 lie,                             25
And some, repenting, did29 for sorrow cry;
The mind oppressed with grief, thoughts mourners be,30
All clothed31 in black, no light of joy could see;32
Some with despair did33 rage, were34 almost mad,
And some so merry nothing made35 them sad;                        30
And many more, which were too long to tell;
For several thoughts36 in several places dwell.
At last came two which were in various dress;37
One melancholy, th’other did mirth express.38
Melancholy was all in black array,                                              35
And Mirth was all in colors fresh and gay.

Mirth laughing came, and running to39 me, flung
Her fat white arms; about my neck she40 hung,
Embraced and kissed me oft, and stroked my cheek,
Saying41 she would no other lover seek.                                    40
“I’ll sing you songs, and please you every day,
Invent new sports to pass the time away.
I’ll keep your heart, and guard it from that thief
Dull melancholy care, or sadder grief,
And make your eyes with mirth to overflow,                            45
With springing blood your cheeks soon42 fat shall grow.
Your legs shall nimble be, your body light,
And all your spirits like to birds in flight.
Mirth shall digest your meat and make you strong,
Shall give you health, and your short days prolong.               50
Refuse me not, but take me to your wife,
For I shall make you happy all your life.
But43 Melancholy, she will44 make you lean:
Your cheeks shall hollow grow, your jaws be45 seen;
Your eyes shall buried be within your head,                            55
And look as pale as if you were quite dead.
She’ll make you start at every noise you hear,
And visions strange shall in your eyes appear.
Your stomach cold and raw, digesting nought,
Your liver dry, your heart with sorrow fraught,                      60
Shriveled your skin, brows cloudy, and46 blood thick,
Your long lank sides, and back to47 belly stick.
Thus would it be if you to her were wed;
Nay,48 better far it were that you were dead.
Her voice is low, and gives a49 hollow sound.                           65
She hates the light, and is in darkness50 found,
Or sits51 with blinking lamps or tapers small,
Which various shadows make against a wall.
She loves nought else but noise, which discord makes,52
As croaking frogs whose dwelling is in lakes,53                      70
The ravens hoarse, and so the mandrake’s groan,
And shrieking owls, which in night fly alone,54
The tolling bell, which for the dead rings out,
A mill where rushing waters run about,
The roaring winds, which shake the cedars tall,                     75
Plow up the seas, and beat the rocks withal.
She loves to walk in the still moonshine night,
Where55 in a thick, dark grove she takes delight.
In hollow caves, houses thatched, or lowly cell56
She loves to live, and there alone to dwell.57                            80
Her ears are stopped with thoughts, her eyes purblind,
For all she hears or sees is in the mind.
But in her mind, luxuriously she lives;
Imagination several pleasures gives.
Then leave her to herself, alone to dwell;                                 85
Let you and I in mirth and pleasure swell,
And drink long lusty draughts from Bacchus’s58 bowl,
Until our brains on vaporous waves do roll.
Let’s joy ourselves in amorous delights;
There’s none so happy as the carpet-knights.”                         90

Melancholy, with sad and sober face,
Complexion pale, but of a comely grace,
With modest countenance, thus softly59 spake:
“May I so happy be, your love to take?
True, I am dull, yet by me you shall know                                95
More of yourself, and so much wiser60 grow.
I search the depth and bottom of mankind,
Open the eye of ignorance that’s blind.
I travel far and view the world about;
I walk with reason’s staff to find truth out.                              100
I watchful am, all dangers for to shun,61
And do prepare ’gainst evils that may come.62
I hang not on inconstant Fortune’s wheel,
Nor yet with unresolving doubts do reel.
I shake not with the terrors of vain fears,                                 105
Nor is my mind filled with unuseful cares.
I do not spend my time like idle Mirth,
Which only happy is just at her birth,
And63 seldom lives so long as64 to be old,
But if she doth, can no affections hold.                                      110
For in short time she troublesome will65 grow,
Though at the first she makes a pretty show.
She loves to make a noise and keep66 a rout,
And with dislike most commonly goes out.
Mirth good for nothing is, like weeds doth67 grow,                 115
Or such plants as68 cause madness, reason’s foe.69
Her face with laughter crumples on a heap,
Which makes great wrinkles and plows furrows deep.70
Her eyes do water, and her skin turns red;
Her mouth doth gape, teeth bare, like one that’s dead.          120
Her sides do stretch as set upon a71 last,
Her stomach heaving up as if she’d cast.
Her veins do swell, joints seem to be72 unset;
Her pores are open, whence streams73 out a sweat.
She fulsome is, and gluts the senses all,                                     125
Offers herself, and comes before a call.
Seeks company out,74 hates to be alone,
Though on unsent-for guests affronts are thrown.75
Her house is built upon the golden sands,
Yet no foundation hath76 whereon it stands.                            130
A palace ’tis, where comes77 a great resort;
It makes a noise, and gives a loud report.
Yet underneath the roof, disasters lie,
Beat78 down the house, and many killed79 thereby.
I dwell in groves that gilt are with the sun,                               135
Sit on the banks by which clear waters run.
In summers hot, down in a shade I lie;
My music is the buzzing of a fly,
Which in the sunny beams does80 dance all day,
And harmlessly does pass its81 time away.                                140
I walk in meadows where grows fresh green grass;
In82 fields where corn is high I often83 pass,
Walk up the hills, where round I prospects see:
Some brushy woods, and some all champaigns84 be.
Returning back, I in fresh pastures85 go,                                   145
To hear how sheep do bleat, and cows do86 low.
They gently feed, no evil think upon,87
Have no designs to do another wrong.88
In winter cold, when nipping frosts come on,
Then I do89 live in a small house alone.                                     150
The littleness doth make it warm, being close;90
No wind nor91 weather cold can there have force.92
Although ’tis plain, yet cleanly ’tis within,
Like to a soul that’s pure and clear from sin.
And there I dwell in quiet and still peace,                                 155
Not filled with cares for93 riches to increase.
I wish nor seek for vain and fruitless pleasures;
No riches are, but what the mind entreasures.
Thus am I solitary, live94 alone,
Yet better loved the more that I am known.                              160
And though my face b’ill favored at first sight,
After acquaintance it will95 give delight.
For I am like a shade: who sits in me,
He shall not96 wet, nor yet sunburnèd be.
I keep off blustering storms from doing hurt,                          165
When Mirth is often smutched with dust and dirt.
Refuse me not, for I shall constant be,
Maintain your credit, keep up97 dignity.”

A Dialogue betwixt Joy and Discretion

Give me some music, that my spirits may
Dance a free1 galliard whilst delight doth play.
Let every voice sing out, both loud and shrill,
And every tongue to run2 what way it will.
For Fear is gone away with her pale face,                                  5
And pain is banished out from3 every place.

O Joy,4 take moderation by the hand,
Or else you’ll fall5 so drunk you cannot6 stand.
Your tongue doth run so fast, no time can keep;
High as a mountain, many words you heap.                             10
Your thoughts in multitudes the brain do throng,
That reason is cast down and trod upon.7

O wise Discretion,8 do not angry grow;
Great dangers, fears, alas,9 you do not know.
Fear10 being past, the spirits soon11 are slacked;                     15
Fear, being12 a string, binds hard, but when once13 cracked
Spirits find14 liberty, and15 run about,
Which,16 being stopped, do17 suddenly burst out,
And to recover what they had before,
When18 once untied, take liberty the19 more.                           20
Like water which was20 pent, then21 passage finds,
Breaks out in22 fury like the northern winds.
What gathers on a heap so strong doth grow,
That when ’tis loose, it doth far swifter23 go.
But dear Discretion, do not with me24 scold;                            25
Whilst you do feel great fears, your tongue pray hold.
For Joy cannot contain itself in rest;
It never leaves till some way is25 expressed.

A Dialogue betwixt Wit and Beauty

Mixed rose and lily, why are you so proud,
Since fair is not in all minds like1 allowed?
Some do like2 black, some3 brown, and some like4 white;
In all complexions some eyes5 take delight.
Nor doth one Beauty in the world still reign,                     5
For Beauty is created in the brain.
But say there were a body perfect made,
Complexion pure, by Nature’s pencil laid,
A countenance where all sweet spirits meet,
A hair that’s thick and6 long, curled to the feet,                 10
Yet were it like a statue made of stone,
The eye would weary grow to look thereon.7
Had it not8 Wit the mind still to delight,
It soon would9 weary be, as well as sight.
For Wit is fresh and new, doth sport and play,                   15
And runs about the humour every way.
With all the passions Wit can well agree;
Wit tempers them and makes them pleased to be.
Wit’s ingenious,10 doth new inventions find,
To ease the body, recreate11 the mind.                                 20

When I appear, I strike the optic nerve;
I wound the heart; I12 make the passions serve.
Souls are my pris’ners,13 yet love me so well,14
My company is Heaven,15 my absence Hell.
Each knee doth bow to me, as to a shrine,                          25
And all the world accounts me as divine.

Beauty, you cannot long devotion keep:
The mind grows weary; senses fall asleep.16
As those which in the house of God do go
Are very zealous in a prayer or two,                                    30
But if they kneel an hour long17 to pray,
Their zeal grows cold, nor know they what they say.
So admirations are: they do not last;18
After nine days the greatest wonder’s past.19
The mind, as20 senses all, delights in change;                      35
They nothing love but what is new and strange.
But subtle Wit can please both21 long and well,
For to the ear a new tale Wit22 can tell.
And for the taste, doth dress meat23 several ways
To please the eye, new24 forms and fashions raise.           40
And for the touch, Wit spins both silk and wool,
Invents new ways to keep touch warm and cool.
For scent, Wit mixtures and compounds doth make,
That still the nose a fresh new smell may take.
I by discourse can represent the mind                                 45
With several objects, though the eyes be blind.
I can create ideas in the brain,25
Which to the26 mind seem real, though but feigned.
The mind like to a shop of toys I fill27
With fine conceits; I fit all humours well.28                        50
I can the work of Nature imitate,
And in the brain each several shape create.29
I conquer all, am master of the field;
I30 make fair Beauty in love’s wars to yield.

A Dialogue between Love and Hate

Both Love and Hate fell in a great dispute,
And hard it was each other to confute,
Which did most good, or evil most did1 shun.
At last with frowning brows Hate thus2 begun:

“I fly,” said she, “from wicked and base acts,                      5
And tear the bonds unjust,3 and4 ill contracts.
I do abhor all murder, war, and strife,
Inhumane actions and disordered life,
Ungrateful and unthankful minds that shun
All those from whom they have received a boon.              10
From discords harsh and rude5 my ears I stop,
And what is bad I from the good do lop.
I perjured lovers brand with foul disgrace,
And from ill objects do I hide my face.
Things, that are bad I hate, or what seems so,                    15
But Love is contrary to this, I know.
Love loves ambitïon, the6 mind’s hot fire,
Would ruin worlds only7 to rise up higher.
You love to please your appetite and8 will,
To glut your gusto you delight in still.                                   20
You love to flatter, and be flattered too,
And, for your lust, poor virgins would undo.
You love the ruin of your foes to see,
And of your friends, if they but prosperous be.
You nothing love besides yourself, though ill,                      25
And with vainglorious wind your brain do fill.
You love no ways but where your bias tends,
And love the Gods only for your own ends.”

But Love, in words as sweet as Nature is,
Said Hate was false, and always did amiss.                         30
For she did cankerfret, the soul destroy,
Disturb the pleasure wherein life takes joy,
Ruin the world with wars, which peace would make,9
Torment the head and10 heart, revenge to take.11
She12 never rests till she descends to Hell,                          35
For she amongst the devils loves to13 dwell.
“But14 I,” said Love, “unite, and15 concords make.
All music was invented for my sake.
I men by laws in commonwealths do join,
And ’gainst16 a common foe do them17 combine.              40
To th’sick, lame, weak, and agèd I’m a friend;18
I watch, guard, keep, and do them safe defend.19
For20 honor’s sake I do high21 courage raise,
And bring to Beauty’s22 shrine off’rings23 of praise.
Compassion’s bowels I24 the world throughout                 45
Do carry, and distribute all about.
I to the Gods show rev’rence,25 bow and pray,
And in their heav’nly26 mansions bear great sway.”

Thus Love and Hate in some things equal be,
Yet in disputes they27 always disagree.                                50

A Dialogue betwixt Learning and Ignorance

Thou busy forester, that seek’st about1
The world, to find the heart of Learning out,
Or, Perseus-like, foul monsters thou dost kill,
Rude Ignorance, which nothing dost but2 ill.

O thou proud3 Learning, that stand’st4 on tiptoes high,      5
Yet canst not5 reach to know the deity,
Nor where the cause of any one thing lies,
But fill’st6 man full of care and miseries.
Learning inflames the thoughts to take great pains,
Doth nought but make an alms tub of the brains.                10

Learning doth seek about new things to find,
In that pursuit, doth recreate the mind.
It is a perspective, Nature to spy,7
Can all her curiosities8 descry.

Learning’s a9 useless pain, unless it have                              15
Some ways or means to keep us from the grave.
For what is all the world, if understood,
If we it do not use,10 nor taste its11 good?
Learning may come to know the use of things,
Yet not receive the good which from them springs.             20
For life is short, and learning long; ere we12
May come to use what’s learnèd, dead we be.13

O Ignorance, thou beast!14 which dull and lazy15 liest,
And only eat’st, sleepest,16 till thou diest.

The lesson Nature taught is, most delight                               25
To please the senses and17 the appetite.18
I, Ignorance, am still the Heav’n19 of bliss,
For in me lies the truest happiness.
Give me still20 Ignorance, that harmless ’state,21
That paradise, that’s free from envious hate.                        30
Learning that22 tree was whereon knowledge grew;
Tasting that fruit, man nought but mis’ry23 knew.
Had man but knowledge Ignorance to24 love,
He happy would have been as25 gods above.

O Ignorance! How foolish thou dost talk!26                           35
Is’t happiness in ignorance to walk?
Can there be joy in darkness more than light?
Or pleasure more in blindness than in sight?

A Dialogue betwixt Riches and Poverty

I, Wealth, can make all men of each degree
To crouch and flatter, and to follow me.
I many cities build, high, thick, and large,
And armies raise, against each other charge.
I make them lose1 their lives for my dear sake,                  5
Though when they’re dead they no rewards can take.
I trample truth under my golden feet,
And tread down innocence, that flower sweet.
I gather beauty when ’tis newly blown,
Reap chastity before ’tis overgrown.                                    10
I root out virtue with a golden spade;
I cut off justice with a golden blade.
Pride and ambition are my vassals low,
And on their heads I tread as I do go.
And by mankind much more adored2 am I—                     15
Although but earth—than the bright sun so3 high.

Riches, thou art a slave, and runn’st about
On every errand; thou com’st4 in, go’st5 out.
And men of honor set on thee no price
Their6 honesty or7 virtue to8 entice.                                      20
Some foolish gamesters, which do love to play
At cards and dice, corrupt perchance you may,
A silly virgin gather here and there,
That doth9 gay clothes and jewels love to wear.
The10 poor, which hate their neighbor brave to see,         25
Perchance may seek and love your company.
And those that strive to please their senses all,
If they want wealth, and11 you pass by, will12 call.
On age, ’tis true, you have a great, strong power,
For they embrace you, though they die next hour.           30

You speak, poor poverty, mere out of spite,
Because there’s none with you doth take delight.
If you into man’s company will thrust,
They call that fortune ill, and most accurst.
Men are ashamed with them you should be seen,13         35
You are so ragged, torn, and so unclean.
When I come in, much welcome do I find;
Great joy there is, and mirth in every mind.
And every door is open set, and wide,
And all within is busily employed.                                        40
There neighbors all invited are to see,
So14 proud they are in my dear company.

’Tis prodigality you brag so on,
Which never lets you rest till you are gone,
Calls in for help to beat you of doors,                                   45
His dear companions, drunkards, gamesters, whores.
What though you’re brave, and gay in outward show?
Within you’re15 foul and beastly, as you know.
Besides, debauchery is like a sink,
And you are father to that filthy stink.                                 50
True, I am threadbare, and am very lean,
Yet I am decent, sweet, and very clean.
I healthful am, my diet being spare;
You’re full of gouts and pains, and surfeits fear.
I am industrious new arts to find,                                         55
To ease the body, and to please the mind.
The world like to a wilderness would be,
If it were not for the poor’s industry.
For Poverty doth set awork the brains,
And all the thoughts to labor and take pains.                     60
The mind ne’er idle sits, but is employed;
Riches breed sloth, and fill it full of pride.
Riches, like a sow,16 in its own mire lies,17
But Poverty’s light, and like a bird still flies.18

A Dialogue betwixt Anger and Patience

Anger, why are you hot1 and fiery red?
Or else so pale, as if you were quite dead?
Your spirits are disturbed; you senses lack,2
Your joints unset, flesh shakes; your nerves grow slack.3
Your tongue doth move, but speaks no word that’s plain,4    5
Or else they flow like torrents caused by rain.5

Lord,6 what a bead-roll of dislike you tell!
If you were stung with wrong, your mind would swell.
Your spirits would be set on flame with fire,
Or else grow chill with cold, and back retire.                           10

Alas,7 it is for some supposed wrong;8
Sometimes you have no ground to build upon.
Suspicion is deceitful, runs about,
And often for a truth9 takes wrong, no doubt.
If you take falsehood up, ne’er search things10 through,       15
You do great11 wrong to truth, and yourself too.
Besides, you’re12 blind, and undiscerning fly
On everything,13 though innocence is14 by.

O Patience!15 You are strict and seem precise,
And counsels give as if you were so wise.                                  20
But you are cruel, and fit times will take
For your revenge, though you16 no show do make.
Your brows unknit, your heart seems not to burn,
Yet on suspicion will do a shrewd turn.
But I am sudden, and do all in haste,                                          25
Yet in short time my fury all is past.
Though anger be not right, but sometimes wrong,
The greatest mischief lies but in the tongue.
But you do mischief, and your time you’ll17 find
To work revenge, though quiet in your mind.                          30

If I take time, I clearly then can see
To view the cause, and seek for remedy.
If I have wrong, myself I well may right,
But I do wrong if innocence I smite.18
The knot of anger by degrees unties;                                          35
Then falls19 that muffler from discretion’s eyes.
My thoughts run clear and smooth as crystal brooks,
That every face may see that20 therein looks.
Though I run low, yet wisely do I wind,
And many times through mountains passage find,                 40
When you swell high, like to a flowing sea,
For windy passions cannot in rest21 be,
Where you are rolled in waves, and tossed about,
Tormented, and can find no passage22 out.

Patience, your mouth with good words you do fill,                 45
And preach morality, but you act ill.
Besides, you seem a coward full of fear,
Or like an ass which doth great burdens bear,
Let every poltroon strike and give you24 blows,
And every fool in scorn to wring your nose.                             50
Most of the world do think you have no sense
Because not angry, nor do take25 offence,
When I am thought right wise, and of great merit,
Heroic, valorous, and of great spirit.
For26 everyone doth fear me to offend,                                     55
And for to please me all their forces bend.
I flattered am, make fear away to run;27
Thus am I28 master wheresoe’er I come.29
Away, you foolish Patience, give me rage,
That I in wars may all the30 world engage.                               60

O Anger, thou art31 mad!32 There’s none will care
For your great brags but fools and cowardly fear,33
Which in weak34 women and small children dwell.
That you more talk than fight, wisdom knows well.35
Besides, great courage takes me by the hand,                          65
That whilst he fights I close by him may36 stand.
I want no sense misfortunes to espy,37
Although I silent am and do not cry.
Ill accidents and grief I strive to cure;
What cannot help, with courage I38 endure,                            70
Whilst you do vex yourself with grievous pains,
And nothing but disturbance have for39 gains.
Let me advise you,40 Anger, take’t not ill
That I do offer you my patience still.
For you in danger live still all your life,                                    75
And mischief do when you are hot in strife.

A Dialogue between a Bountiful Knight and a Castle Ruined in War


Alas, poor Castle, how great is thy change2
From thy first form! To me thou dost seem strange.
I left thee comely and in perfect health;
Now thou art withered and decayed in wealth.

O noble Sir, I from your stock was raised,                                5
Flourished in plenty, and by all men praised,
For your most valiant father did me build,
Your brother furnished me, my neck did gild,
And towers on3 my head like crowns were placed,4
Walls, like a girdle, went about5 my waist.                              10
And on this pleasant hill he set me high,
To view6 the vales below as they do7 lie,
Where like a garden is each field and close,8
Where fresh green grass and yellow cowslip grows.9
There did I see fat sheep in pastures go,                                   15
And hear10 the cows, whose bags were full, to low.
By wars I’m11 now destroyed, all rights o’erpowered;
Beauty and innocency are devoured.
Before these wars I was in my full prime,
And held12 the greatest beauty in my time.                              20
But, noble Sir, since I did see you last,
Within me hath13 a garrison been placed,
Their guns, and pistols all about me hung,
And in despite their bullets at me flung,
Which through my sides those passages you see14                 25
Made, and destroyed the walls that circled me,15
And left16 my rubbish on huge heaps to lie.
With dust I’m17 choked, for want of water, dry,
For those small leaden pipes which winding lay
Under the ground, the water to convey,                                    30
Were all cut off; the water, murmuring,
Run back with grief to tell it to the spring.
My windows all are18 broke; the wind blows in;19
With cold I shake, with agues shivering.20
O pity me, dear Sir, release my band,                                        35
Or let me die by your most noble hand.

Alas, poor Castle, I small help can bring,
Yet shall my heart supply the former spring
From whence the water of fresh tears shall rise;
To quench thy drought, I’ll21 spout them from mine eyes.    40
That wealth I have22 for to release thy woe,
I’ll offer for a ransom to thy foe.
But to restore thy health and23 build thy wall,
I have not means enough to do’t withal.
Had I the art, no pains then24 I would spare,                            45
But all what’s25 broken down I would repair.

Most noble Sir, you that me freedom give,
May your great name in after ages live.
This your great26 bounty may the gods requite,
And keep you from such enemies and27 spite,                          50
And may great Fame your praises sound aloud.
Gods give me life to show my gratitude.28

A Dialogue betwixt Peace and War

War makes the vulgar multitude to drink
In at the ear the foul, the muddy sink
Of factious tales, by which they dizzy grow,
That the clear sight of truth they do not know,
But1 reeling stand, know not what way to take,                 5
And2 when they choose, ’tis wrong, so war they3 make.

Thou flattering and most unjust Peace,4 which draws
The vulgar by thy rhet’rick to hard laws,
Which makes them silly and5 content to be,
To take up voluntary slavery,                                                 10
Thou6 mak’st great inequalities beside:
Some bear like asses, some7 on horseback ride.

O War, thou cruel enemy to life,8
Unquiet9 neighbor, breeding always strife,
Tyrant thou art, to rest wilt10 give no time,                        15
And blessed Peace thou punish’st11 as a crime.
Factions thou mak’st in every public weal,
From bonds of friendship tak’st off wax and seal.
All natural affections are by thee12
Massacred; none escapes thy cruelty.13                               20
The root of all religion thou pull’st up,
Dost14 every branch of ceremony lop.15
Civil society is turned to16 manners base;
No laws or customs can by thee17 get place.
Each mind within itself cannot agree,                                 25
But all do strive for superiority.
In the whole world thou dost18 disturbance make;
To save themselves, none knows19 what ways to take.

O Peace, thou idle drone, which lov’st to dwell,
If it but keep thee20 safe, in a poor cell,                               30
Thy life thou sleep’st away, thoughts lazy lie.
Sloth buries fame, makes all great actions die.

I am the bed of rest, and couch of ease;
My conversation doth all creatures please.
I the parent of learning am, and21 arts,                               35
Religion’s nurse,22 and comfort to all hearts.
I am the guardian, virtue safe do keep;23
Under my roof she may securely sleep.24
I am adorned with pastimes and with sports;
Each several creature still to me resorts.                             40

A school am I, where all men25 may grow wise,
For prudent wisdom in experience lies;
A theater, where noble minds do stand;26
A mint of honor, coined for valor’s hand.27
I am a throne, which is for valor fit,28                                  45
And a great court where royal29 Fame may sit.30
I am a large field, where doth ambition31 run.
Courage still seeks me; cowards do32 me shun.