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A Tale of the Beginning of Friars and Cloisterers.
Quota he, not long since was a man
That did his devoir give
And did in penance live.
And, though beloved of the king,
He lived by his sweat;
Unworthy for to eat.
He told the erring their amiss,
And taught them to amend ; He counselled the comfortless,
And all his days did spend
In prayer and in poverty:
Amongst his doings well,
This accident befell :
A dozen thieves to have been hang’d
Were led this hermit by;
As Christian men to die.
So penitent they were, and he
So pitiful, good man,
The prisoners he ran :
Which got, he gave it them; but this
Proviso did he add,
They grant, poor souls, and glad.
He got them gowns of country grey,
And hoods for rain and cold, And hempen girdles, which (besides
Themselves) might burdens hold;
Pick-ax, and spade: and hard to work
The convent fell together; With robes, and ropes, and every tool
For every work and weather.
So did they toil, as thereabout
No causey was unwrought; Wherefore new labours for his men
The holy hermit sought.
But, at departure, prayed them
To fast, to watch, and pray,
And live remote from worldly men;
And goeth so his way.
The holy thieves (for now in them
Had custom wrought content) Could much of Scripture; and indeed
Did heartily repent.
Now when the country-folk did hear
Of these same men devout, Religiously they haunt their cells;
And lastly, brought about
That from the woods to buildings brave
They won their hermit's crew, Who was from found-out work return'd,
And their aposta knew.
He, going to their stately place,
Did find in every dish
Of dainty fowl and fish.
Who seeing their saturity,
And practising to win
“ Doth work access to sin.
“ Who fareth finest, doth but feed;
“ And over-feedeth oft ; “ Who sleepeth softest, doth but sleep;
“ And, sometimes, over-soft.
“ Who clads him trimmest, is but clad;
“ The fairest is but fair; “ And all but live: yea, if so long, .
“ Yet not with lesser care “ Than forms, backs, bones, and bellies, that
" More homely cherish'd are,
“ Learn freedom and felicity;
“ Hawks flying where they list, * Be kindlier and more sound than hawks
“ Best tended on the fist !"
Thus preach'd he promis'd abstinence;
And bids them come away:
So well as they would stay.
The godly hermit, when all means
In vain he did perceive,
" And knaves I do you leave !"
It appears from Mr. Malone's Shakspeare, Vol. X. p.74, that
this author took his degree of B. A. at St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1579, so that he may be considered as contemporary with Warner, and indeed is so regarded by Phillips. He was highly praised by Edmond Bolton, Ben Jonson, and others, and Mr. Warton mentions him as “ a noted sonnet writer;" yet the following, though as notable sonnets as his “ Diana” could furnish, can hardly entitle him to be denominated “ the first sonneteer of his “ time.” See Hawkins' Origin of the English drama, iii. 212. The Rev. Mr. Todd, in his valuable edition of Milton's poetical works, has described a very curious MS. of Constable's unpublished poems, in his own possession.
Wonder it is, and pity is't, that she
In whom all Beauty's treasure we may find,
That may enrich the body and the mind, Towards the poor should use no charity. My love is gone a begging unto thee,
And if that Beauty had not been more kind
Than Pity, long ere this he had been pin'd, But Beauty is content his food to be.