Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Song: ‘Virtue’s branches wither, Virtue pines’
By Thomas Dekker (c. 1570–1632)
 
VIRTUE’S branches wither, Virtue pines,
  O pity, pity, and alack the time;
Vice doth flourish, Vice in glory shines,
  Her gilded boughs above the cedar climb.
 
Vice hath golden cheeks, O pity, pity,        5
  She in every land doth monarchize;
Virtue is exiled from every city,
  Virtue is a fool, Vice only wise.
 
O pity, pity, Virtue weeping dies,
  Vice laughs to see her faint, alack the time.        10
This sinks, with painted wings the other flies:
  Alack that best should fall, and bad should climb.
 
O pity, pity, pity, mourn, not sing,
  Vice doth flourish, Vice in glory shines,
Vice is a saint, Virtue an underling;        15
  Virtue’s branches wither, Virtue pines.
 
 
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