Verse > Sir Walter Raleigh > Poems
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?–1618).  Poems.  1892.
 
XVI.
The Lie
certainly before 1608; possibly before 1596
 
GO, Soul, the body’s guest,
  Upon a thankless arrant:
Fear not to touch the best;
  The truth shall be thy warrant:
Go, since I needs must die,        5
And give the world the lie.
 
Say to the court, it glows
  And shines like rotten wood;
Say to the church, it shows
  What’s good, and doth no good:        10
If church and court reply,
Then give them both the lie.
 
Tell potentates, they live
  Acting by others’ action;
Not loved unless they give,        15
  Not strong but by a faction:
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lie.
 
Tell men of high condition,
  That manage the estate,        20
Their purpose is ambition,
  Their practice only hate:
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lie.
 
Tell them that brave it most,        25
  They beg for more by spending,
Who, in their greatest cost,
  Seek nothing but commending:
And if they make reply,
Then give them all the lie.        30
 
Tell zeal it wants devotion;
  Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it is but motion;
  Tell flesh it is but dust:
And wish them not reply,        35
For thou must give the lie.
 
Tell age it daily wasteth;
  Tell honour how it alters;
Tell beauty how she blasteth;
  Tell favour how it falters:        40
And as they shall reply,
Give every one the lie.
 
Tell wit how much it wrangles
  In tickle points of niceness;
Tell wisdom she entangles        45
  Herself in over-wiseness:
And when they do reply,
Straight give them both the lie.
 
Tell physic of her boldness;
  Tell skill it is pretension;        50
Tell charity of coldness;
  Tell law it is contention:
And as they do reply,
So give them still the lie.
 
Tell fortune of her blindness;        55
  Tell nature of decay;
Tell friendship of unkindness;
  Tell justice of delay:
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.        60
 
Tell arts they have no soundness,
  But vary by esteeming;
Tell schools they want profoundness,
  And stand too much on seeming:
If arts and schools reply,        65
Give arts and schools the lie.
 
Tell faith it’s fled the city;
  Tell how the country erreth;
Tell manhood shakes off pity;
  Tell virtue least preferreth:        70
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.
 
So when thou hast, as I
  Commanded thee, done blabbing,—
Although to give the lie        75
  Deserves no less than stabbing,—
Stab at thee he that will,
No stab the soul can kill.
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors