Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
The Inconstancy of Youth
LXXXII. Thomas Lloyd
 
THE RETCHLESSE 1 race of youth’s inconstant course,
Which weeping age with sorrowing teares behoulds;
Their wretched will, their wofull sorrows’ source;
Their wanton wits, their errors manifoldes,
Hath reard my muse, whose springs wan care had dried,        5
To warne them flie the dangers I haue tried.
 
From cradle’s rock when childish I had crept,
And, May-like young, of pleasure ’gan to taste,
Seeing my fatall course, my reason wepte:
Toyes were my triumphes, will my woorth did waste,        10
And in the seas of pleasure whilst I sayld,
Small were my fruites, and yet my youth was quailde.
 
And now ’gan man-like vigor fill myne arme;
My harte was warmde with courage fit for loue:
Like wanton bird, exempt from fowler’s charme,        15
I soard aloft; but looking from aboue,
I saw on earth a fowler heauenly faire,
That made hir nets the trammels of hir haire.
 
Then, loe! my pompous plannes were layd apart;
Hir eyes were loadstars in this worldlie way;        20
My thoughts hir thraule, her prisoner was my heart:
But for my paines what payment but delay?
A lingring life I liude, to sorrow soulde,
A foe to wit, through follies waxing oulde.
 
When chillie age had seasure of this earth,        25
I felt a wound of sorrow in my brest;
I saw how iudgement quite was spoiled by death;
How vertue’s seedes by errors was supprest.
I cast the count, and see what I haue gotten:
Time lost; wits wast; and limmes with surfets rotten.        30
 
Now see I well that trauell is mispent,
Except in vertue it be well imployed:
What I in loue, had I in learning spent,
Oh what a ioy had wearie age enioyed!
Had I forseene the wastfull course of time,        35
I then had made my haruest in my prime.
 
But now, when feeble footsteps are allied
Vnto the graue, this sinfull bodie’s hould;
I cannot practise, though I haue espyed
The way of worth, the grace exceeding gould.        40
What only rests sweete young men that shall follow,
I know the sourse, and now will teach the shallow.
 
Preuent the time, the dayes are full of danger;
Whilst youthfull vigor yeelds you furtherance,
Make reason guide; let follie be a straunger;        45
Vertue is perfected by art and vsance:
Enritch your mindes with skill; for why? they must
Remaine eterne, when boddie is but dust.
 
Let not your eyes infeebled be by sinne;
Cut short presumption, for it will aspire;        50
Who takes aduice, amendment dooth begin:
Subdue your wils, and maister your desire.
A modest coat, chaste thoughts, and studious artes,
Adorne the boddie, minde, and inward partes.
 
Note 1. LXXXII. Thomas Lloyd.—The selected stanzas from this writer are transcribed from a work published in 1592, entitled “Evphves’ Shadow: the battle of the dances, wherein youthfull folly is set down in his right figure, and vaine fancies are prooued to produce many offences.” [back]
 
 
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