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Then Beauty bade to blow retreat,

And every soldier to retire,
And Mercy mild with speed to fet*

Me captive bound as prisoner.

"Madam," quoth I, " sith that this day

"Hath served you at all assays, "I yield to you, without delay,

"Here of the fortress all the keys.

"And sith that I have been the mark "At whom you shot at with your eye,

"Needs must you with your handy-tuarA, z "Or salve my sore, or let me die."

The aged lover renounceth love, *

I loath that I did love

In youth that I thought sweet,

As time requires for my behove,
Methinks they are not meet.

My lusts they do me leave,
My fancies all be 3 fled;

* Fetch. Ed. 1567, " »et." * Work.

* The editor of Reliques of Anc. Poetry has given some different readings in this poem, from a MS. in the Museum. Vide II. 186. 'So ed. I.—Ed. 1567, " are."


And tract of time begins to weave
Gray hairs upon my head.

For Age with stealing steps

Hath claw'd me with his crowch,

And lusty Life away she leaps,
As there had been none such.

My Muse doth not delight

Me, as she did before:
My hand and pen are not in plight

As they have been of yore.

For Reason me denies

This youthly idle rhyme;
And day by day to me she cries,

"Leave off these toys in time."

The wrinkles in my brow,

The furrows in my face, Say, limping Age will hedge * him now,

Where Youth must give him place.

The harbinger of Death

To me I see him ride:
The cough, the cold, the gasping breath

Doth bid me to provide
• So ed. I Ed. 1567, "lodge."


A pick-axe and a spade,

And eke a shrouding-sheet, A house of clay for to be made

For such a guest most meet.

Methinks I hear the clerk,

That knolls the careful knell; And bids me leave my woful mark

Ere Nature me compel.

My keepers knit the knot

That Youth did laugh to scorn,

Of me that clean shall be forgot,
As I had not been born.

Thus must I Youth give up,

Whose badge I long did wear: To them I yield the wanton cup

That better may it bear.

Lo here the bared * scull!

By whose bald sign I know
That stooping Age away shall pull

Which youthful years did sowf

For Beauty with her baud

These crooked cares hath wrought, • Ed. 1567, " bareheid."

And shipped me into the land
From whence I first was brought.

And ye that 'bide behind,
Have ye none other trust!

As ye of clay were cast by kind,
So shall ye waste to dust.

Of a contented Mind.

[From the Paradise of Dainty Devices; ed. 1578. Each of the following stanzas is printed as four lines in the original.]

When all is done and said,

In th' end thus shall you find;
He most of all doth bathe in bliss,

That hath a quiet mind:
And, clear from worldly cares,

To deem can be content
The sweetest time in all his life

In thinking to be spent.

The body subject is

To fickle Fortune's power,
And to a million of mishaps

Is casual every hour:

And death in time doth change

It to a clod of clay;
When as the mind, which is divine,

Runs never to decay.

Companion none is like

Unto the mind alone; For many have been harm'd by speech*

Through thinking, few, or none. Fear oftentimes restraineth words,

But makes not thoughts to cease; And he speaks best, that hath the skill

When for to hold his peace.

Our wealth leaves us at death;

Our kinsmen at the grave: But virtues of the mind unto

The heavens with us we have.
Wherefore, for virtue's sake

I can be well content
The sweetest time of all my life

To deem in thinking spent.

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