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That thee is sent receive in buxomnesse,

15 The wrastling of this world asketh a fall, Here is no home, here is but wildernesse, Forth pilgrime! forth, beast, out of thy stall ! Looke up on high, and thanke God of all ! Weive thy lusts, and let thy ghost thee lede, And trouth thee shall deliver, it is no drede.

Geoffrey Chaucer.

20

II

A MEDITATION
UPON THE FRAILTY OF THIS LIFE.

5

O trifling toys that toss the brains,

While loathsome life doth last;
O wished wealth, O sugared joys,

O life when death is past ;
Who loaths exchange of loss with gain !

Yet loath we death as hell.
What woeful wight would wish his woe?

Yet wish we here to dwell.
O Fancy frail, that feeds on earth,

And stays on slippery joys ;
O noble mind, o happy man,

That can contemn such toys !

IO

15

Such toys as neither perfect are,

And cannot long endure ;
Our greatest skill, our sweetest joy,

Uncertain and unsure.
For life is short, and learning long,

All pleasure mixt with woe ;
Sickness and sleep steal time unseen,

And joys do come and go.

20

Thus learning is but learned by halves,

And joy enjoyed no while ;
That serves to show thee what thou want'st,

This helps thee to beguile.

25

30

But after death is perfect skill,

And joy without decay ;
When sin is gone, that blinds our eyes,

And steals our joys away;
No crowing cock shall raise us up,

To spend the day in vain;
No weary labour shall us drive

To go to bed again.
But for we feel not what we want,

Nor know not what we have ;
We love to keep the body's life,
We loath the soul to save.

Anon.

35

III

LOVE THE ONLY PRICE OF LOVE.

The fairest pearls that northern seas do breed,

For precious stones from eastern coasts are sold ;
Nought yields the earth that from exchange is freed;

Gold values all, and all things value gold.
Where goodness wants an equal change to make,
There greatness serves, or number place doth take.

5

No mortal thing can bear so high a price,

But that with mortal thing it may be bought ; The corn of Sicil buys the western spice ;

French wine of us, of them our cloth is sought. No pearls, no gold, no stones, no corn, no spice, No cloth, no wine, of Love can pay the price.

IO

What thing is Love, which nought can countervail ?

Nought save itself, ev'n such a thing is Love. All worldly wealth in worth as far doth fail,

15 As lowest carth doth yield to heaven above. Divine is Love, and scorneth worldly pelf, And can be bought with nothing but with self.

Anon.

IV

A POESY TO PROVE AFFECTION IS NOT LOVE.

Conceit, begotten by the eyes,
Is quickly born, and quickly dies;
For while it seeks our hearts to have,
Meanwhile there reason makes his grave :
For many things the eyes approve,
Which yet the heart doth seldom love.

5

For as the seeds, in springtime sown,
Die in the ground ere they be grown;
Such is conceit, whose rooting fails,
As child that in the cradle quails;
o else within the mother's womb
Hath his beginning, and his tomb.

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Affection follows Fortune's wheels,
And soon is shaken from her heels;
For following beauty or estate,
Her liking still is turned to hate;
For all affections have their change,
And Fancy only loves to range.

Desire himself runs out of breath,
And, getting, doth but gain his death ;

20

Desire nor reason hath, nor rest,
And, blind, doth seldom choose the best :
Desire attained is not desire,
But as the cinders of the fire.

25

As ships in ports desired are drowned ;
As fruit, once ripe, then falls to ground ;
As fies, that seek for flames, are brought
To cinders by the flames they sought:
So fond Desire, when it attains,
The life expires, the woe remains.

30

And yet some poets fain would prove
Affection to be perfect love;
And that Desire is of that kind,
No less a passion of the mind,
As if wild beasts and men did seek

35 To like, to love, to choose alike.

Sir Walter Raleigh.

V

A ATURAL COMPARISONS WITH PERFECT LOVE. The lowest trees have tops; the ant her gall ;

The fly her spleen ; the little sparks their heat : The slender hairs cast shadows, though but small;

And bees have stings, although they be not great. Seas have their surges, so have shallow springs; 5 And love is love, in beggars as in kings. Where rivers smoothest run, deep are the fords ;

The dial stirs, yet none perceives it move; The firmest faith is in the fewest words ;

The turtles cannot sing, and yet they love. True hearts have eyes, and ears, no tongues to speak ; They hear, and see, and sigh ; and then they break.

Anon.

VI

LIFE.

The world's a bubble, and the life of man

Less than a span;
In his conception wretched ; from the womb

So to the tomb;
Curst from his cradle, and brought up to years

With cares and fears.
Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
But limns on water, or but writes in dust.

5

IO

Yet whilst with sorrow here we live opprest,

What life is best?
Courts are but only superficial schools

To dandle fools :
The rural parts are turned into a den

Of savage men :
And where's a city from foul vice so free,
But may be termed the worst of all the three ?

15

20

Domestic cares afflict the husband's bed,

Or pains his head :
Those that live single, take it for a curse,

Or do things worse:
Some would have children ; those that have them, moan,

Or wish them gone :
What is it, then, to have, or have no wife,
But single thraldom, or a double strife?

25

Our own affections still at home to please

Is a disease :
To cross the seas to any foreign soil,

Peril and toil :

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