Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Poem from The Gude and Godlie Ballates
By King James I of Scotland (1394–1437)
 
(1570)

SEN throw vertew incressis dignitie,
  And vertew is flour and rute of noblés ay,
Of ony wit, or quhat estait thou be
  Ris 1 steppis few, and dreid for none effray:
  Exill al vice, and follow treuth alway;        5
Lufe maist thy God, that first thy lufe began,
And for ilk inche He will thé quyte ane span.
 
Be not ouir proude in thy prosperitie,
  For as it cummis, sa will it pass away;
The tyme to compt is schort, thou may weill se,        10
  For of grene gress sone cummis wallowit 2 hay.
  Labour in treuth, quhilk suith is of thy fay; 3
Traist maist in God, for He best gyde thé can,
And for ilk inche He will thé quyte ane span.
 
Sen word is thrall, and thocht is only fre,        15
  Thou dant 4 thy toung, that power hes and may,
Thou steik thy ene 5 fra warldis vanitie,
  Refraine thy lust, and harkin quhat I say;
  Graip or thou slyde, 6 and keip furth the hie way,
Thou hald thé fast upon thy God and man,        20
And for ilk inche He will thé quyte ane span.
 
Note 1. rise. [back]
Note 2. withered. [back]
Note 3. faith. [back]
Note 4. daunt, i.e., tame, restrain. [back]
Note 5. eyes. [back]
Note 6. Grip ere thou slide. [back]
 
 
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