History of Literature

Sebastian Brant

"Ship of Fools"

Illustrations by  Albrecht Dürer






Of them that prolonge from day to day to amende themselfe.

He that cras cras syngeth with the crowe
Deferrynge the tyme of his amendement
Amonge our folys, in this our shyp shall rowe
For his presumpcion, dull mynde and blynde intent
What knowe these folys whether god omnypotent
Wyll graunt them to lyue vntyll another day.
Wherfore we ought to mende vs whyle we may.

If vnto any almyghty god doth sende

From heuen aboue by inspyracion dyuyne

Wyll and gode mynde his synnes to amende

And with his grace his thoughtes enlumyne

If that synner wyll nat therto enclyne

But doth dyffer and dryue frome day to day

A fole he is, no wyse man wyll denay

Yet many folowe this inconuenience

And knowynge theyr owne vyce, and lyfe full of ordure

The payne therof, and howe euery offence

And synne is punysshed of eche creature

Also they knowe that theyr deth is vnsure

And dye they must knowynge no houre nor space

Yet synne they styll, nat receyuynge this grace

They folowe the crowes cry to theyr great sorowe

Cras cras cras to morowe we shall amende

And if we mende nat than, than shall we the next morowe

Outher shortly after, we shall no more offende

Amende mad fole whan god this grace doth sende

He is vnwyse whiche trustes the crowes songe

And that affermyth that he shall lyue so longe

Syns deth (as I haue sayde) is so vnstable

Wherfore we ought alway vs to prouyde

And mende our lyfe and synne abhomynable

For though that thou be hole at the euyn tyde

Thou knowest nat sure that thou shall here abyde

Untyll the morne but if thou dye in that space

It shall be to late for the to cry cras cras

Syns it is in thy power that thou may

Amende thy selfe whan god inspyreth the

Why shalt thou tary vnto another day

The longer tary the lesse apt shalt thou be.

In olde sores is grettest ieopardye

Whan costome and vse is tourned to nature

It is right harde to leue: I the ensure

Therfore if that thou lewdly fall in syn

By thy frayle flesshe, and the fals fendes trayne

Take nat the vse, contynue nat therin

But by confessyon shortly ryse agayne

Synne alway thretenyth vnto the doer, payne

And grutche of conscience with moche thought and wo

Yet alwaye ar we redy and prone therto

Mannys lyfe on erth is euyn a chyualry

Agaynst our flesshe fyghtyng whiche often doth vs shame

Also the deuyll our goostly ennemy

On his parte labours to get vs in his frame

Thus oft we fall, and than our foly blame

Repentynge sore, and wyllynge to refrayne

But within an houre we fall therto agayne

Thus euer to vyce ar we redy and prone

The gyftis of grace we clene from vs exclude

We haue great cause sore to complayne and mone

We leue that thynge (our myndes ar so rude)

That myght vs gyde to helth and beatytude

Thus our owne foly, and our owne blynde madnes

Us often ledyth vnto great wretchydnes

And if it fortune, that at any tyme

Within our myndes we purpose stedfastly

For to confesse our synne, excesse, or cryme

Agayne our thought is changyd by and by

Away than ren we with the crowys crye

With one cras, to morowe, perauenture twayne

Without regarde had, vnto infernall payne

But in the meane space if that deth vntretable

Arrest the with his mace, fyers and cruell

And for thy synne and lyfe abhomynable

By iustyce damme thy soule for euer to hell

Than woldest thou gladly (If thou myght) do well

But there is no grace but doloure payne and sorowe

Than is to late to crye cras cras to morowe

The Enuoy of the Actour.

Say what delyte, thou fole or what pleasoure

Takest thou in synne and voluptuosyte

It is small sothly, and passeth euery houre

Lyke to the water, and that in myserye

Therfore set nat in synne thy felycyte

This day begyn thy lewde lyfe to refuse

Perchaunce to morowe sholde be to late to the

So sholde cras the crwys songe the sore abuse


Of hym that is Jelous ouer his wyfe and watcheth hir wayes without cause, or euydent tokyn of hir myslyuynge.

He that his wyfe wyll counterwayte and watche
And feryth of hir lyuynge by his Jelowse intent
Is as great fole, as is that wytles wratche
That wolde kepe flees vnder the son feruent
Or in the se cast water, thynkynge it to augment
For thoughe he hir watche lockynge with lockys twayne
But if she kepe hir selfe his kepynge is but vayne

Orestes was neuer so blynde and mad as is he

Whiche for his wyfe taketh thought and charge

Watchynge hir wayes, thoughe that she gyltles be

This fole styll fereth, if she be out at large

Lyst that some other his harnes sholde ouercharge

But for all his fere and carefull Jelowsy

If she be nought there is no remedy.

Thou fole I proue, thy watchynge helpeth nought

Thy labour lost is, thou takest this care in vayne

In vayne thou takest this Jelowsy and thought

In vayne thou sleest thy selfe with care and payne

And of one doute thou fole thou makest twayne

And neuer shalt fynde eas nor mery lyuynge

(Whyle thou thus lyuest) but hatered and chydynge

For locke hir fast and all hir lokes marke.

Note all hir steppys, and twynklynge of hir iye.

Ordeyne thy watchers and dogges for to barke

Bar fast thy dores and yet it wyll nat be

Close hir in a Toure with wallys stronge and hye

But yet thou fole thou lesist thy trauayle

For without she wyll no man can kepe hir tayle

And yet more ouer breche hir with plate and mayle

And for all that if she be nought of kynde

She shall disceyue the (If she lyst) without fayle

But if that she be chast of dede and mynde

Hir selfe shall she kepe, though thou hir neuer bynde

Thus they that ar chast of nature, wyll byde so

And nought wyll be nought what so euer thou do

Thus is it foly and causeth great debate

Bytwene man and wyfe, whan he by Jelowsy.

His wyfe suspectyth, and doth watche or counterwayt

Or hir mysdemyth and kepyth in stratly.

Wherfore me thynke it is best remedy

For hym that gladly wolde escape the hode

Nat to be Jelous: but honest lyuynge and gode

The toure of bras that callyd was darayne.

Coude nat the damsell (by name Danes) defende

But that Jupiter fonde a cautell and trayne

In a golden shoure into hir to discende

And to be short, at conclusyon and ende

This mayde for all this Toure was there defylyd.

And by this lorde was she there brought with childe

By this example it apereth euydent

That it is foly a woman to kepe or close

For if she be of lewde mynde or intent

Outher preuy or apert there about she goys

Deuysynge wayes with hir good man to glose

But specially if that he hir suspect

With a hode shall he vnwars be ouerdect

But in the worlde right many other be

Whiche neuer folowe this fals and lothly way

We haue example of one Penolope

Whiche though that she alone was many a day

Hir husbonde gone, and she vexed alway.

By other louers: yet was she euer trewe

Unto hir olde: and neuer changyd for newe

I fynde that often this folysshe Jelowsy

Of men; causyth some women to mysdo

Where as (were nat theyr husbondes blynde foly)

The pore wymen knowe nat what longyd therto

Wherfore suche men ar folys and mad also

And with theyr hodes whiche they them selfe purchace

Within my shyp shall haue a rowme and place

For where as perchaunce theyr wyfes ar chaste and goode

By mannys vnkyndnes they chaunge and turne theyr herte

So that the wyfe must nedes gyue them a hode

But to be playne some wymen ar esy to conuert

For if one take them where they can nat start.

What for theyr husbondes folysshe Jelowsy

And theyr owne pleasour: they scars can ought deny

The enuoy of the Actour.

Therfore ye wymen lyue wysly and eschewe

These wanton wowers and suche wylde company

Get you gode name by sadnes and vertue

Haunt no olde quenys that nourysshe rybawdry

Than fere ye nat your husbondes Jelowsy

If ye be fawtles, chaste and innocent

But wanton wowers ar ful of flatery

Euer whan they labour for their intent.

Be meke, demure, bocsome, and obedyent,

Gyue none occasyon to men by your foly

If one ought asshe, deny it incontynent

And euer after auoyde his company

Beware of cornes, do nat your erys aply

To pleasaunt wordes nor letters eloquent

If that Helena had so done certaynly

She had nat ven rauysshed by handes violent


Of auoutry, and specially of them yt ar bawdes to their wyues, knowynge and wyll nat knowe, but kepe counseyll, for couetyse, and gaynes or auauntage.

A fole blynde, forsoth and wytles is that man
Whiche thoughe his wyfe openly defylyd be
Before his owne face, yet suche a chrafte he can
To fayne hym a slepe, nat wyllynge it to se
Or els he layeth his hande before his iye
And thoughe he here and se howe the mater gose
He snortynge slepyth, and wyll it nat disclose.

O what disorder, what shame and what domage

Is nowe brought in, and right lykely to abyde

In the sacrament of holy mariage

The fere of payne and lawe is set a syde

Faythe is clene lost, and fewe them selfe do gyde

After theyr othe, but for lacke of punysshement.

They brake and despyse this dyuyne sacrament

Alas the lawe that Julius dyd ordeyne

Agaynst auoutry: is nowe a slepe or dede

None feryth iustyce punysshement nor payne

Both man and woman ar past all fere and drede

Theyr promes brekynge, without respect or hede

Had to theyr othe, by mariage solemnysed

The bed defylyd. the sacrament despysed

Many ar whiche thynke it is a thynge laudable

Anothers sponse to pullute and dyffame

And howe beit the synne is moche abhomynable

They fere nat god, nor dout nat worldly shame

But rather boldly they bost them of the same

They note no thynge the mortall punysshement

Taken on auoutrers in the olde testament

Yet is another thynge more lothsome and vyle

That many husbondes knowynge theyr wyues syn

Absent themselfe and stop theyr iyen the whyle

Kepynge the dore whyle the auoutrer is within

They forse no thynge so they may money wyn

Lyuynge as bawdes, and that to theyr owne wyues

O cursyd money, this madnes thou contryuys

O cursyd husbonde thou ought to be asshamyd

To set so great fors for syluer or for golde

That thou for them thy wyfe wyll se diffamyd

And helpe therto: ye: and the dede beholde

Blame it blynde dryuyll: by the lawe so thou sholde

And nat therat to gyggyll laghe and Jest

It is a lewde byrde that fyleth his owne nest

The Hystory of Atreus expressyth playne

Howe he (by his owne brother) for auoutry

Was dryuen from his royalme and his childre slayne

For his mysdede: without: let or remedy

These children thus bought theyr faders mad foly

What shall I wryte the wo and heuynes

Whiche Tarquyn had for rauysshynge lucres

I rede in the hystory of one Virginius

Whiche to thyntent this foule synne to eschewe

Whan his doughter was desyred by Clodius

And that by force; the fader his dowghter slewe

Bytwene the handes of Clodius vntrue

The fader answered (whan men his dede dyd blame)

Better is to dye chast: than longe to lyue in shame

But of auoutry somwhat more to speke

In it is yre Enuy and paynfull pouertye.

And also he or she that mariage doth breke

May fere of deth eternall whan they dye

And here without welth ioy and rest shall they be

And well ar they worthy (forsoth) of sore tourment

In hell: for brekynge this holy sacrament

But in the meane tyme here shalt thou haue discorde

And neuer prosper in vertue nor ryches

And lothsome be before the almyghty lorde

Thy dedes shall purchace mysfortune and distres

Thou lyue shalt in shame and dye in wretchydnes

And if thou procede therin and nat amende

Some great shame shalt thou haue before thyne ende.

The enuoy of the Actour.

O creatures vnkynde leue ye this outrage

Breke nat your othe whiche ye made solemly

Eche one to other for to lyue in mariage

Defyle ye it nat by synne and vylany

On both partis if ye lyue faythfully

After your promes: in loue, fayth and concorde

Than shall ye in erth encreas and multyply

And after haue syght of the almyghty lorde

Let all spousys in theyr myndes comprehende

The lawys and decrees of the olde testament

Howe they that in auoutry dyd offende

Were outher stonyd or els openly brent

Wherfore syns goddes son omnypotent.

Confermed hath the olde testament with the newe

Auoutrers nowe deserue that same punysshement

But well is to them, that stedfast ar and trewe


Of hym that nought can and nought wyll lerne, and seyth moche, lytell berynge away, I mene nat theuys.

He is a fole, and so shall he dye and lyue
That thynketh hym wyse, and yet can he no thynge
And though he myght he wyll nat set nor gyue
His mynde to good maners, vertue nor cunnynge.
So is he a fole that doth to market brynge
His Gese fast bounde, and game or sporte to se
Lowsyth theyr fete, and suffreth them to fle

Saynt George to borowe our Nauy is aflote

Forth shall we sayle, thoughe that it be a payne

And moche laboure to forge a pryuate bote

For euery faute: yet shall I nat refrayne

My hande nor penne: thoughe vnsure be my gayne

My laboure sure: my wyt and reason thynne

Than leue a thynge vnendyd better nat begynne

But in this place shall I a Shyp ordayne

For that fole: that heryth great doctryne

Wherby good maners and vertue aperyth playne

He seth all goodnes, stody, and disciplyne

And yet wyll nat his mynde therto enclyne

But though he knowe what thynge is godlyest

Ouer all the worlde, yet is he styll a beest.

Many of this sort wander and compase

All studies, the wonders of the worlde to se

With vnstabyll wynges fleynge from place to place

Some seyth lawe and some dyuynyte

But for all this byde they in one degre

And if they were Asses and folys blynde before

After all these syghtes yet ar they moche more

They se moche nought lernynge, and hauynge no delyte

In wysdome nor maners vertue nor goodnes

Theyr tyme is loste, without wysdome or profyte

Without grace, or other holynes

But whyle they labour thus with besynes

If they se ought newe, or any folysshe toy

That lyghtly they lerne, and set theron theyr ioy.

By this desyre folys may knowen be

For wytles men of fleynge mynde and brayne

Ar best pleasyd with thynges of neweltye

And them to haue, they spare no cost nor payne

To dyuers londes to ren but all in vayne

And so they labour alway from londe to londe

To se all wonders, but nought they vnderstonde

Some fle to se the wonders of englonde

Some to the court to se the maners there

Some to Wallys, Holonde, to Fraunce or Irlonde

To Lybye, afryke, and besyly enquere.

Of all marueyles, and skantly worth a here

Some vnto Fraunce and some to Flaunders ren

To so the wayes, and workes of cunnynge men

And to be shorte ouer all they range

Spendynge theyr goodes about vnthryftynes

In countrees knowen, vnknowen and strange

But whan theyr iourney they homwarde must addres

As folys vnware, and vagabundes thryftles

They haue nought lerned, kept, nor with them brought

Of maners, wysdome or other thynge that is ought

They that by the se sayle to londes strange

Oft chaunge the place and planete of the fyrmament

But theyr mynde nor maners they ne turne nor chaunge

And namely suche that ar lewde and neglygent

What euer they se styll one is theyr intent

Whan he departyd, If that he were a sote

Agayne anone he comyth in the same mynde and cote

Say mad folys blynde ouersene, and worthy scorne

Fayne wolde I knowe what necessyte ye haue

To go from the place where ye were bred and borne

Into another londe to lerne to play the knaue

Your mynde vnstable sheweth playne that ye raue

Laboure nat so sore, to lerne to be a fole

That cometh by it selfe without any other scole

He that is borne in walys or small brytayne

To lerne to pyke and stele nedys nat go to Rome.

What nede we sayle to Flaunders or Almayne

To lerne glotony, syns we may it lerne at home

Suche lewdnes soon may we lerne of our wombe

He that wyll lerne falshode gyle or sotelte

May lerne it here as well as beyonde the se.

To passe the se to lerne Uenus rybawdry

It is great foly, for thou mayst lerne thy fyll

In shoppis Innes and sellers, ye somtyme openly

At saynt Martyns Westmynster or at the tour hyll

So that I fere all London, in tyme it shall fyll

For it is there kept in lyght and in darke

That the pore Stuys decays for lacke of warke

But brefely to speke, and this to set a syde

He that on vyce, and synne wyll set his entent

May lerne it in Englonde, if he at home abyde

And that of all sortis: god sende amendement

But if thou alway wyll nede be dylygent

To labour in the worlde about from place to place

Do as dyd Plato, than shalt thou fynde great grace

This godly plato laboured with dilygence

To Egypt, and other londes sparynge for no payne

Where euer he came: augmentynge his scyence

And at the last retourned to Grece agayne

His countrey natyf: with laude and name souerayne

Thus he for all his wysdome laboured besyly

But that fowle that nought can nought settyth by

Wherfore that gose that styll about wyll wander

Moche seynge and herynge, and nought berynge away

Shall home come agayne as wyse as a gander

But more fole is he that may lerne euery day

Without cost or laboure out of his owne countrey

And whan the well of wysdome renneth by theyr dore

Yet looth they the water as if that it were soure

Alexander Barklay ad fatuos vt dent locum octo secundariis beate marie de Oterey qui quidem prima huius ratis transtra merentur.

Soft folys soft, a lytell slacke your pace

Tyll I haue space you to order by degre

I haue eyght neyghbours, that firste shall haue a place

Within this my shyp, for they most worthy be

They may theyr lernynge receyue costeles and fre.

Theyr wallys abuttynge and ioynynge to the scoles.

No thynge they can, yet nought wyll they lerne nor se

Therfore shall they gyde this one shyp of foles.

The enuoy of Barklay.

O vnauysyd, vnwyse and frowarde man

Great cause thou hast to morne sore and complayne

Whan no goodnes vertue nor wyt thou can

And yet to lerne thou hast scorne and dysdayne

Alas man mende, and spare no maner payne

To get wysdome, and it thou shalt nat want

Hym that nought wyll knowe, god wyll nat knowe certayne

Wo is hym that wylfully is ignorant.


Of great wrathe, procedynge of small occasyon.

Assys erys for our folys a lyuray is
And he that wyll be wroth for a thynge of nought
Of the same leuray is nat worthy to mys
For who that by wrathe to suche a wyll is brought
To sle his Asse for hir pas slowe and soft
Shall after his fury, repent his mad foly
For to a clere mynde, mad wrathe is ennemy

Come nere, ye wrathfull men, take your rowme and place

Within our shyp, and to slake our hastynes

Mount on an Asse slowe of hir gate and pace

Syns troublous wrath, in you, styreth this madnes

Often lacke of myght asswagyth cruelnes

To a wylde cowe god doth short hornys sende

Wrath is great foly, where myght may nat extende

O man yll myndyd what helpeth the this yre

None the commendyth whiche doth thy maners marke

What doste thou: but the waste with thyne owne fyre

Narrynge with thyselfe lyke as a dogge doth barke

Without meke worde and pleasyd with no warke

Art thou: but thoughe all men be dylygent

Mad wrathe to please, yet who can it content

This man malycious whiche troubled is with wrath

Nought els soundeth but the hoorse letter R

Thoughe all be well, yet he none answere hath

Saue the dogges letter, glowmynge with nar nar

Suche labour nat this mad rancour to defar

Nor yet his malyce to mytygate or asswage

But ioyeth to be drede of men for this outrage

His mouth fomyth his throte out gorgyth fyre

His ferefull furoure is, his hole felycyte

By his great yre, doth he coueyte and desyre

Dowtyd to be: of the pore comontye

His owne madnes and cruell furyosyte

Wyll he nat knowe as he were nat culpable

Of this mad fury and vyce abhomynable

Hym selfe is blynde, but other well note his dede

He shall be poynted whether he go or ryde

Saynge one to other take gode regarde and hede

Of yonder furyous fole whome reason doth nat gyde

Beware his wayes fle hym on euery syde

Who that hym sueth both hurte and shame shall fynde

Thus other hym notyth but he hymself is blynde

So his Asse crys to hym ar inuysyble

He thynkyth to haue pacyence though that he haue none

And vnto hym it is thynge incredyble

That suche ar folys whose pacyence is gone

Thus coueytyth he to kepe his erys alone

And to wrathfull men he wyll no thynge obiect

For that hym selfe is with the same infect

But somwhat to touche the inconuenyences

Whiche by this wrath procedyth to mankynde

It is chefe grounde of many great offences

Destroynge reason blyndynge the wyt and mynde

By malyce man is to all yll inclynde

Both symple man, and lordes excellent

Do that by wrath oft whiche they after repent

Reuoke thy mynde, somwhat thy herte enclyne

Unto Archytas a man of hye wysdome

Borne the the ryche Cyte namyd Tarentyne

Rede howe that he his malyce dyd ouercome

For thoughe his seruaunt was fals to hym become

And he sore mouyd to auenge the same offence

Yet he refraynyd his wrathe by pacyence

So socrates so Senyk and Plato

Suffred great wronge great iniury and payne

And of your fayth sayntis right many mo

For christ our mayster dyd great turment sustayne

What wo or payne cowde saynt Laurance refrayne

From pacience wherfore it is great shame

For christen men if they do not the same

They suffred deth, ye, and yet were pacyent

And many haue prayed, for suche that haue them slayne

Where thou mad fole takest greuous punysshement

For small occasyon, ye come by chaunce sodayne

Fole thou art blynde, and mad to set thy brayne

All thynge to venge (by wrath) that doth mysfall

For he that part hath lost: by wrath oft lesyth all

And forsoth no meruayle, if suche wyse actours

Hath wrathes madnes, expelled and set asyde

For where that wrath doth rayne with his furours

There can no reason nor wysedome longe abyde

The wyt it wastyth: so is it a lewde gyde

Therfore let mesure, this malyce holde agayne

But pacyence is brydyll his madnes to refrayne

It longeth nat to any man of hye prudence

For to be wrothe, yrous, or gyuys to malancoly

No suche passyon nor inconuenyence

Can fall to man, ay stedfast wyse and holy

But folys ar moste troublyd with this foly

Where as a wyse man for any aduersyte

Lyueth in quyete mynde and tranquylyte

A man well manerd, sad sober and dyscrete

If he be ware, wyse, chrafty and prouydent

Beholdeth all thynge before his syght and fete.

Gydynge hym by mesure a vertue excellent

Where as a fole doth all without aduysement

And in euery thynge shewyth his folysshnes

Wroth at eche worde, as mayster of madnes

Wherfore ye folys se ye no lenger tary

But on the dull Asse hastely assende

That a slowe beest may hasty folys cary

For your mad wrath dowtyth no thynge the ende

Your madnes can nat your blynde mysdede defende

For who that one sleyth, angry and feruent

Ought to be hangyd whan he is pacyent

The enuoy of the Actour.

Blynde myndyd man whiche wylt all thynge ouercome

Reputynge thy selfe, moste souerayne and royall

If thou be wyse or partener of wysdome

Labour to ouercome thyne owne selfe firste of all

Thy wrath asswage thou in especyall

Let neyther malyce, nor yre with the abyde

Thou art a fole the chefe or lorde to call

Of other: whan thou can nat thy selfe well gyde.


Of the mutabylyte of fortune.

That man whiche hopyth hye vp to ascende
On fortunes whele, and come to state royall
If the whele turne, may doute sore to descende
If he be hye the sorer is his fall
So he whiche trustyth nat therto at all
Shall in moste eas and suerty hymselfe gyde
For vnsure fortune can in no place abyde

We dayly proue by example and euydence

That many be made folys mad and ignorant

By the brode worlde, puttynge trust and confydence

In fortunes whele vnsure and inconstant

Some assay the whele thynkynge it pleasant

But whyle they to clym vp haue pleasour and desyre

Theyr fete them faylyth so fall they in the myre

Promote a yeman, make hym a gentyl man

And make a Baylyf of a Butchers son

Make of a Squyer knyght, yet wyll they if they can

Coueyt in theyr myndes hyer promosyon

And many in the worlde haue this condicion

In hope of honour by treason to conspyre

But ofte they slyde, and so fall in the myre

Suche lokys so hye that they forget theyr fete

On fortunes whele whiche turneth as a ball

They seke degrees for theyr small myght vnmete

Theyr folysshe hertis and blynde se nat theyr fall

Some folys purpose to haue a rowme Royall

Or clym by fortunes whele to an empyre

The whele than turneth lyuynge them in the myre

O blynde man say what is thyne intent

To worldly honoures so greatly to entende

Or here to make the hye ryche and excellent

Syns that so shortly thy lyfe must haue an ende

None is so worthy, nor can so hye ascende

Nor nought is so sure if thou the trouth enquyre

But that it may doute to fall downe to the myre

There is no lorde Duke kynge nor other estate

But dye they must, and from this wolde go

All worldly thynges whiche god hath here create

Shall nat ay byde, but haue an ende also

What mortall man hath ben promotyd so:

In worldly welthe or vncertayne dignyte

That euer of lyfe had houre of certaynte

In stormy wyndes lowest trees ar most sure

And howsys surest whiche ar nat byldyd hye

Where as hye byldynges may no tempest endure

Without they be foundyd sure and stedfastly

So gretest men haue moste fere and ieopardy

Better is pouertye though it be harde to bere

Than is a hye degre in ieopardy and fere,

The hyllys ar hye, the valeys ar but lowe

In valeys is come the hyllys ar barayne

On hyest places most gras doth nat ay growe

A mery thynge is mesure and easy to sustayne

The hyest in great fere, the lowest lyue in payne

Yet better ly on grounde, hauynge no name at all

Than hye on a Clyf ferynge alway to fall

Thus as me thynke it is no thynge lawdable

On fortunes whele, for one to clym to hye

Syns the swyft cours therof is so vnstable

And all must we leue whan we depart and dye

Of our short lyfe haue we no certayntye

For lachesys (whan that thou hast lefte drede)

Of thy lyue dayes shall shortly breke the threde.

Atropos is egall to pore man and estate

Defar wyll nat deth by prayer ne request

No mortall man may his furour mytygate.

Nor of hym haue one day longer here to rest:

Content the with measure (therfore) for it is best

Coueyt nat to moche in honour to excell

It is a fowle fall to fall from erth to hell

Unstable fortune exalteth some a loft

To this intent, them to brynge to an yll ende

For who that hye clymmeth his fall can nat be soft

If that mysfortune constrayne hym to dyscende

Though Julius Cesar his lordshyp dyd extende

Ouer all the worlde: yet fortune at the last.

From lyfe and lordshyp hym wretchydly dyd cast

This hath ben sene, is sene, and euer shall

That most peryll is in hyest dignyte

Howe many estatis, howe many men Royall.

Hath fortune dryuyn downe into aduersyte

Rede dyuers cronycles, and thou shall playnly se

That many thousandes hath endyd in doloure

By theyr immoderate mynde to honoure

Ouer rede Bochas and than shalt thou se playne

The fall of prynces wryten ryght compendeously

There shalt thou se what punysshement and payne

Haue to them fallen, somtyme by theyr foly

And oft is moche preuy hatered and enuy

Had agaynst lordes of the rude comonte

Where euer they go: they lyue in ieopardye

Ay dowtynge deth by cursed gyle and treason

Eche thynge mysdemynge, ferynge to be opprest

By some mysfortune, with venym or with poyson.

Thus in great honour is neyther ioy nor rest

But thought and fere, ye whyle the lyfe doth lest

Thus who that procuryth great honour to attayne

Procuryth with all, enuy, peryll, fere and payne

A lorde or state whom many men doth drede

With loueles fere, and fayned countenaunce

Unto hym selfe ought wysely to take hede

And them to fere, if he wyll voyde myschaunce

For why a comonty is of suche ignoraunce

And so enuyous, that both erly and late

They muse to destroy hym whom, they fere and hate

A man promotyd vnto hye dygnyte

Shall haue loue shewyd hym by adulacion

But no true loue nouther faythfull amyte.

Good fame nor name, ne commendacion

Ye though he be worthy great exaltacion

Pytefull louynge and full of equyte

Yet harde is to please a folysshe comonte

Therfore me thynke of all thynge it is best

Man to be pleased and content with his degre

For why in mesure, is suerty eas and rest

And ay moste peryll in hyest dignyte

Fortune is full of changes and mutabylyte

Trust nat therto, therby comyth do gode

But nowe hye nowe lowe, vnstable as a flode

Alexander barklay to the Folys.

Labour nat man with to moche besy cure

To clymme to hye lyst thou by fortune fall

For certaynly, that man slepyth nat sure

That lyeth lows vpon a narowe wall

Better somtyme to serue, than for to gouerne all

For whan the Net is throwen into the se

The great fysshe ar taken and the pryncipall

Where as the small escapyth quyte and fre




Of them that be diseasyd and seke and ar impacient and inobedyent to the Phesycyan.

If one be vexed with sore infirmyte
Within his body felynge dyseas and payne
And wyll nat gladly with perfyte mynde agre
To a wyse Phesycian that wolde hym hele agayne
He is a fole, and shall his foly sore complayne
And if that he by his selfe wyll do sterue
It is but well: syns he it doth deserue.

He that is feble with sekenes outher wounde

Wherwith he feleth hym selfe so kept in payne

That dye he muste but if remedy be founde

He is a fole, if that he haue dysdayne

Of wyse Phesycyans: and medecines souerayne

And wyll nat sue theyr counsell and aduysement

Wherby he myght haue helth and short amendement

Thoughe the Phesycyan (of his lyfe) hym assure

So he be ruled, and vnto his mynde agre

The pacyent yet kepyth no dyete nor mesure

In mete nor drynke, and wyll nat gouerned be

But foloweth Ryot and all superfluyte

Receyuynge colde water in stede of ale or wyne

Agaynst read and counsell of crafty medycyne

What mete or drynke that is most contagious

And most infectyf to his sekenes or dyseas

And to hym forbyden, as moste contrarious

Unto his sekenes. That namely doth hym pleas

But that thynge that myght hym helpe and greatly eas

He hatyth moste, and wyll none receyue at all.

Tyll this small sore, at the last become mortall

Suche wyll no counsell ensue, nor mesure haue

Nor temper theym selfe in lesse nor yet in more.

Tyll theyr yll gouernaunce brynge them to theyr graue

Retournynge into grounde lyke as they were before

But who that soone wolde, be helyd of his sore

Whan it is newe ought to fynde remedy.

For in olde sorys is greatest ieopardy

A small sparcle often tyme doth augment

It selfe: and groweth to flames peryllous

Right so small wellys whiche semeth to be spent

With lytell sprynges and Ryuers, ofte so growys

Unto great waters, depe and ieopadous.

So a small sore augmentyth, styll preuely

By lytell and lytell for lacke of remedy

A small diseas whiche is ynoughe durable

At the begynnynge, for lacke of medycyne

At longe contynuaunce becomyth incurable

The paynfull pacyent bryngynge vnto ruyne

Wherfore who wyll to his owne helth enclyne

And soone be helyd of yll without all tary

To the Phesician ought nat to be contrary

Obstynat frowarde or inobedyent

Ought he nat be, but with a pacyent mynde

Shewe all his soris truly playne and euydent

To the Phesician if he wyll socour fynde.

And thoughe his saluys in paynes hym sore bynde.

Let nat for that, but after his wyll the gyde

Better a shorte payne, than that doth longe abyde

No sore can be releuyd without payne.

Forsake nat the short, the longe payne to eschewe

To the Phesycian we ought in worde be playne

And shewe hym our sore, whether it be olde or newe

For in thy wordes if that thou be nat trewe

Or kepe ought close, thou dysceyuest be thou sure

Thy selfe. and nat hym that of the hath the cure.

In lyke fourme who comyth vnto confessyon

There to declare howe he his lyfe hath spent

And shewyth nat his synne lyke wyse as he hath done

Hymself he disceyuyth, as blynde of his entent.

Thus many one endureth infernall tourment

With wo contynuall and payne for euermore

For kepynge secrete there, of his goostly sore.

Thus who that is payned in any malady

Bodely or gostly, ought nat to be callyd wyse

To the Phesycian without that he aply.

And his preceptis hant kepe and exercyse

But now olde wytches dare boldly interpryse

To intromyt to hele all infyrmyte

And many them byleue, whiche sothly is pyte

Suche wytches of theyr byleue abhomynable

On brest or hede of the paynfull pacyent

With theyr wytchecraftis shall compasse chat and bable

Assurynge hym of helth, and short amendement

Than he that is seke fyxith his intent

Upon hir errour: to haue helpe of his sore

But she hym leuyth wors than he was before

Poule the apostyll doth boldly say and preue

That they whiche to suche wytches wyll assent

Ar heretykes, Lolardes and false of theyr byleue

Brekynge goddes lawes and commaundement

And oft also by profe it apereth euydent

That suche as to wytches craftis wyll intende

By theyr fals Phesyke come soner to theyr ende

Theyr body dede, theyr soule in ieopardy

By mysbyleue for euer in paynes infernall.

Whiche ar rewarde for wretchyd synne and heresy

But if thou to thy mynde and reason call

And of this wrytynge perceyue the sence morall

Whan thou art fallen seke and in dedely syn

Seke helpe betyme, and byde nat longe therein

The enuoy of Barklay to the folys.

Thou man or woman, that lyest seke in vyce

To goddes vycayrs confesse thy syn holly

So shalt thou from thy goostly yll aryse.

For thy soule fyndynge helpe and remedy

Without leasynge shewe hym thy synne playnly

Let nat for shame nor fall nat thereto agayne

Better shewe thy sore there to one secretely

Than after openly: and byde eternall payne

Ensewe the counsell of a wyse confessour

Take nat colde water in stede of vermayll wyne:

For moche swetnes, endure thou a lytell soure

Kepe well the dyet and threfolde medicyne

Ordayned for synne by spirituall doctryne

That is confessyon, the next contrycyon.

With satisfaccion these thre, with grace deuyne

Ar salues parfyte for all transgressyon


Of ouer open takynges of counsel.

Who that to clerely layeth his net or snare
Before the byrdes whome he by gyle wolde take
Them playnly techyth of his gyle to be ware
And is a fole whether he slepe or wake
Right so is he (and doth a sauegarde make)
For his foes them (techynge remedy to fynde)
Whiche sheweth them by thretenynge the secret of his mynde

Who that intendyth by chraft and polycy

To take many byrdes, outher small or great

And layeth before them to playne and openly

His lynes snarys, his lyme twyggis or his net

He shall no profyte gayne nor auauntage get

For if that he his engynes can nat hyde

The byrdes shall be ware, and lyghtly fle asyde

So he that wyll openly manace and threte

With worde and hande, as he wolde sle adowne ryght

Is oft scant abyll a symple hounde to bete.

For in his worde is all his force and myght

And he that alway thretenyth for to fyght.

Oft at the profe is skantly worth a hen

For greattest crakers ar nat ay boldest men

Who that agaynst his ennemy wolde fyght

And gyueth hym before wepyn and armour.

Agaynst hym selfe to encreas his foes myght

Suche one hath reason and wyt of smal valour.

Ryght so that sole is led in lyke errour

Which nought can do, of mater les or more

Without he crake and boste therof before.

And also suche bosters and crakers comonly

Whiche doth theyr mynde in hasty wordes declare

Of other men ar lytell or nought set by

And by theyr wordes, full often yll they fare

A man also may ryght easely be ware

Of folys whiche thus theyr counsell out expres

Whose thretenyngs to theyr foes is armour and harnes

But hym call I wyse and crafty of counsell

Whiche kepeth close the secretis of his mynde

And to no man wyll them disclose nor tell

To man nor woman, ennemy nor yet frynde

But do his purpose whan he best tyme can fynde

Without worde spekynge, and so may his intent

Best come to ende, his foo, beynge inprouydent

And specially no man ought to be large

Of wordes nor shewe his counsell openly

In thynges weyghty, of peryll and great charge

Consernynge a royallue, or helth of his body

For many ar falsly disceyued fynally

By lewde tale berers whiche seke the way to fynde

To knowe the preuy counsell of theyr lordes mynde

They fawne and flater to knowe his pryuetee

But they forsoth, that wolde knowe thynges newe

For the moste part of this condicion be

No thynge to kepe, but lyghtly it to shewe.

Thus may the saynge of Salomon be fonde true.

Whiche sayth that he is wyse, and lyueth happely

Whiche to hym selfe kepyth his counsell secretely

I fynde foure thynges whiche by meanes can

Be kept close, in secrete, one longe in preuetee

The firste is the counsell of a wytles man

The seconde a Cyte, whiche byldyd is a bye

Upon a mountayne, the thyrde we often se

That to hyde his dedes a louer hath no skyll

The fourth is strawe or fethers on a wyndy hyll

A pore mannys dedys may soone be kept close

His name is hyd, and right so is his dede.

A ryche mannys dede may no man hyde nor glose

It fleeth farthest, all men of it take hede

So that yll fame whome all men ought to drede

In fleynge about hir myght doth multyply

Augmentynge to his lynage shame and vylany

Therfore who that intendyth to be wyse

Ware and crafty, auoydynge all inconuenyence

To shewe his counsell ought nat to interpryse

But do his mynde, kepynge alway sylence

In seruauntis is small trust or confydence

He that is nowe thy frende may after be thy fo

Warne nat thy ennemy of that that thou wylt do

The enuoy of Barklay to the Folys.

O ye that ar put to wronge and Iniury

If ye intende for to yelde the same agayne

It is great foly to warne your ennemye

Or hym to threten with bostynge wordes vayne.

For oft is sayde, and true it is certayne

That they that wyll lyue in quyetnes and rest

Must here and se and hasty wordes refrayne

All styll with fewe wordes do that they thynke best


Of folys that can nat beware by the mysfortune and example of others damage.

Here we expresse, the errour and blyndnes
Of them that se others aduersyte
Theyr wofull fall the ruyne and dystres.
Yet sue they the same, and ware they wyll nat be
Though they by example the payne of other se
Yet leue they nat: thus may they clayme a place
Within my Nauy, as folys voyde of grace

We dayly se the mysfortune and damage

And often fallys, to pouerte and payne

Whiche folys suffer for theyr synne and outrage

Some drowned, some maymed, some other wyse slayne

Yet this example can nat cause vs refrayne

Our wretchyd lyfe, and seke for remedy

We marke no thynge anothers ieopardy.

We se the mockynge scorne and derysyon

That folys hath ofte tyme whan they offende

We se theyr losse, theyr shame and theyr confusion

Howe be it all this can cause vs to amende

We can no thynge and to nought we intende

So many folys I fynde that playne I thynke

Theyr weyghty charge shall cause my shyp to synke

Suche ar despysyd of men discrete and wyse

Ye and more ouer these folys ar so blynde

That echone of them the other doth despyse

With sharp rebukes, wordes lewde and vnkynde

Yet in theyr lyfe no difference may we fynde

And though they haue sene a thousande brough to shame

For one sore vyce: yet lyue they in the same

The example of other can nat theyr myndes moue

Theyr wyttis ar blynde theyr foly is the cause

Alas mad folys why do ye vyce thus loue

Rennynge ay to deth without all rest or pause

Alas, at the last retourne to christis lawes

Be ware, whan ye other se taken in the snare

Let anothers peryll cause you to be ware

Ye do nat so, alas it is great shame

Your synne hath quenchyd your grace and gostly lyght

One blynde man another doth chyde and blame

And yet both stomble, nat goynge euyn or right

A blynde man hym ledyth that also hath no syght

So both in the dyche fallyth in suche a wyse

That one can nat helpe, the other agayne to ryse

One crab blamys another for hir bacwarde pace

And yet the blamer sothly can none other do

But both two ar in theyr goynge in lyke case

The one goeth bocwarde, the other doth also

Many of these folys after that maner go

But who that of his moders doctryne hath disdayne:

Shall by his stepdame endure wo care and payne

And perchaunce after abyde the correccyon

Of the sayde stepdame, in place of punysshement.

For his synne, sufferynge hir vniust subieccien

And who that nat foloweth the commaundement

Of his fader beynge to hym obedyent

May fortune after in hunger thyrst ond colde

Obey that stranger, whom he nat gladly wolde

We fynde Hystories wryten longe and ample

In dyuers bokes of great auctoryte

The hole Bybyll sheweth to vs example

Howe they were punysshed that lyuyd in cruelte

I fynde also wryten in bokes of Poetrye

Howe that Pheton was brent with the lyghtnynge

For his presumpcion, agaynst a myghty kynge

We haue example also by Icarus

Whiche contrary vnto the commaundement

Of his crafty father named Dedalus

By fleynge to hye his wynges and fethers brent

And so descendyd and in the se was drent

Thus these two endynge by theyr lewdnes in care

By theyr example sholde cause vs to beware

We dayly se before our syght and our presence

What mysauenture to many one doth fall

And that worthely for theyr synne and offence

Yet ar we blynde, and ar nat ware at all

But in our synnes lyue vnto them egall

And where by synne we se one come to shame

We wyllyngly (alas) ensue the same

Therfore who sethe a mad fole come to wo

Or fall in peryll for lacke of a good gyde

By another way ought craftely to go

And (by anothers yll) for his helthe to prouyde

The fox was ware, and peryll set asyde

And wolde nat enter into the caue, for playne

Of bestis that entred sawe he none come agayne

The enuoy of Barklay

Lerne man, lerne of bestes to be ware

Of others peryll, by theyr enormyte

For if one byrde be onys tane in a snare

The other auoyde as fast as they may flee

A fysshe byrde or beste that hath in peryll be

Of net hoke or snare, if that they may escape.

Wyll after euer beware, but blynde man wyll nat se

His owne destruccion, but after it doth gape


Of them that forceth or careth for the bacbytynge of lewde people.

Whether that a bell be hangyd or lye on grounde
If vnto the same a clapper lacke or fayle
The bell shall make but sympyll noyse or sounde
Though thou in it do hange a Foxys tayle
Right so backbyters that vse on men to rayle
Can nat greatly hurt them that lyue rightwysly
Wherfore it is foly theyr babblynge to set by.

Who that within this worlde wolde rest and lyue

In eas of mynde, peas and tranquyllyte

Must nat his mynde set, nor his erys gyue

To the vayne talys, of the rude comonte

And though some people of suche condicion be

Oft to dyffame good people true and Just

Let them nought care, for byde it nede they must

Let no man care for the lewde hyssynges

And yll soundynges of this vnhappy rage

It is great foly to set by the lesynges

Of cursyde tunges syns none can them asswage

For who in this worlde wyll come to auautage

Hym selfe exaltynge to worshyp and honoure

Shall fynde the swetnes mengled with the sowre

And he that wyll of his dygnyte be sure

Or sympyll lyuynge what so euer it be

Right greuous chargis somtymes must endure

And with his iyen often beholde and se

Suche thynges wherwith his mynde can not agre

And he that wyll with the worlde haue to do

Must suffer suche trouble as belongeth therto

Yet some haue pytched theyr tentis stedfastly

Upon sure grounde, auoyde of all this payne

Despysynge the worldes wantonnes and foly

For in the same is nought sure nor certayne

Nought se we tranquyll in these wawes mundayne

We se no loue, lawe, fydelyte, nor trust

But nowe up hye, and nowe lowe in the dust

To auoyde the worlde with his foly and stryfe

Many hath left londes townes and ryches

And yll company lyuynge solytary lyfe

Alone in desert and in wyldernes

Ye and that: men of moste wyt and worthynes

Whiche by that meane dyd best of all eschewe

All worldly sclaunder and lyuyd in vertue

He that intendeth to lyue a rightwyse lyfe

And so procedeth in maners and good dede

Of worldly sclaunder, complaynt, hatered, and stryfe

And all yll wyll, he ought nat to take hede

For he that is iuste ought no thynge for to drede

A sclaundrynge tonge, ye, be it neuer so wode

For suche lewde tonges can none hurte that ar gode.

Lyue well and wysely, than let men chat theyr fyll

Wordes ar but wynde, and though it oft so fall

That of lewde wordes comyth great hurte and yll

Yet byde the ende, that onely prouyth all

If thou canst suffer truste well that thou shall

Ouercome thyne ennemyes better by pacience

Than by hye wordes rygour or vyolence

If poetis that somtyme vyce blamyd and discommendyd

And holy Prophetis whiche also dyd the same

To suche vayne and mortall wordes had intendyd

They sholde nat haue durst the peoples vyce to blame

So sholde they haue lost their honour and good name

Theyr fame and meryt, but nowe they haue nat so

But spred theyr fame, whiche neuer away shall go

Forsoth none lyueth within the worlde wyde

Suche meke so holy, so wyse or pacyent

Whiche can hym selfe at euery tyme so gyde

To please eche fole, for none can some content

Forsoth he myght be named excellent

Happy and blessyd and lyue in welth and eas

Whiche euery man cowde serue content and pleas

But suche is none, and he that wyll assay

For to content eche folysshe mannes mynde

Must brake his slepe and stody nyght and day

And yet alway some fole shall be behynde

Ye if one lyue well, yet wyll they somwhat fynde

Behynde his backe hym to sclaunder and diffame

For beggers and bawdes therin haue all theyr game

For whether thou dwell in Est west north or south

Of suche dryuels euer shalt thou fynde plente

One must haue moche mele, to stoppe eche mannys mouth

Sclander is the cunnynge of all the comonte

And in the same suche ay moste besy be

Whiche lyue them selfe in shame and vylany

Euen nowe they speke repentynge by and by

Thus all the cunnynge and stody dilygent.

Of people vnthryfty is alway to despyse

And diffame other whiche ar but innocent

Wherfore let suche as ar discrete and wyse

Nought set by them that lesyngys doth deuyse

Nor theyr vayne foly: for he that doth certayne

Is but, a fole. and euer shall lyue in payne.

The enuoy of Barklay to the Folys.

Trouble nat thy selfe (thou man) where is no nede

And arme thou thy selfe with goodly pacyence

Be sure it is great foly to take hede

Unto backbytynge syns that no resystence

May be founde to withstande his violence

And take thou this one thynge for thy comfort

That none wyse, or good, wyll commyt this offence

But all ar caytyffes, that ar of this lewde sort.


Of mockers, and scorners, and false accusers.

Yet ar mo Folys whiche mocke and scorneth fast
Suche as them shewyth wysdome and doctryne
And at theyr hedes (vngoodly) stonys cast
In mynde disdaynynge to wysdome to enclyne
But gladly they ensue the discyplyne
Of folysshe mockers, let wyse men them eschewe
For no correccion can brynge them to vertue

O Hertles folys, haste here to our doctryne

Leue of the wayes of your enormyte

Enforce you to my preceptis to enclyne

For here shall I shewe you good and veryte

Enclyne, and ye fynde shall great prosperyte

Ensuynge the doctryne of our faders olde

And godly lawes in valour worth great golde

Who that wyll folowe the graces manyfolde

Whiche ar in vertue, shall fynde auauncement

Wherfore ye folys that in your syn ar bolde

Ensue ye wysedome and leue your lewde intent

Wysdome is the way of men most excellent

Therfore haue done, and shortly spede your pace

To quaynt your selfe and company with grace.

Lerne what is vertue, therin is great solace

Lerne what is trouth sadnes and prudence

Let grutche be gone, and grauyte purchace

Forsake your foly and inconuenyence

Cesse to be folys, and ay to sue offence

Folowe ye vertue, chefe rote of godlynes

For it and wysdome is grounde of clenlynes

Wysedome and vertue two thynges ar doutles

Whiche man endueth with honour specyall

But suche hertis as slepe in folysshnes

Knoweth no thynge, and wyll nought knowe at all

But in this lytell barge in pryncypall

All folysshe mockers I purpos to repreue

Clawe he his backe that felyth ytche or greue

Mockers and scorners that ar harde of byleue

With a rugh combe here wyll I clawe and grate

To proue if they wyll from theyr vyce remeue

And leue theyr foly whiche causeth great debate

Suche caytyfs spare neyther pore man nor estate

And where theyr selfe ar moste worthy of dyrysion

Other men to scorne is all theyr moste condicion

Yet ar mo folys of this abusion

Whiche of wyse men despyseth the doctryne

With mowes, mockes, scorne, and collusyon

Rewardynge rebukes, for theyr good disciplyne

Shewe to suche wysdome, yet shall they nat enclyne

Unto the same, but set no thynge therby

But mocke thy doctryne, styll or openly

So in the worlde it apereth comonly

That who that wyll a Fole rebuke or blame

A mocke or mowe shall he haue by and by

Thus in derysyon, haue folys theyr speciall game

Correct a wyse man, that wolde eschewe yll name

And fayne wolde lerne, and his lewde lyfe amende

And to thy wordes he gladly shall intende

If by mysfortune a rightwyse man offende

He gladly suffreth a iuste correccion

And hym that hym techyth taketh for his frende

Hym selfe puttynge mekely vnto subieccion

Folowynge his preceptis and good dyreccion

But if that one a Fole rebuke or blame

He shall his techer, hate, sclaunder, and dyffame

Howbeit his wordes, oft turne to his owne shame

And his owne dartis retourne to hym agayne

And so is he sore woundyd with the same

And in wo endyth, great mysery and payne

It also prouyd full often is certayne

That they that on mockes alway theyr myndes cast

Shall of all other be mocked at the last

He that goeth right, stedfast sure and fast

May hym well mocke that goth haltynge and lame

And he that is whyte may well his scornes cast

Agaynst a man of ynde, but no man ought to blame

Anothers vyce whyle he vsyth the same

But who that of synne is clene in dede and thought

May hym well scorne whose lyuynge is starke nought

The scornes of Naball full dere sholde haue ben bought

If Abigayll his wyfe discrete and sage

Had nat by kyndnes right crafty meanes sought

The wrath of Dauyd to temper and asswage

Hath nat two berys in theyr fury and rage

Two and fourty Children rent and torne

For they the Prophete Helyseus dyd scorne

So myght they curse the tyme that they were borne

For theyr mockynge of this Prophete dyuyne

So many other of this sorte often mowrne

For theyr lewde mockes, and fall in to ruyne

Thus is it foly for wyse men to enclyne

To this lewde flocke of Folys for se thou shall

Them moste scornynge that ar most bad of all

Thenuoy of Barcly to the Folys.

Ye mockynge Folys that in scorne set your ioy

Proudly dyspysynge goddes punycion

Take ye example by Cham the son of Noy

Whiche laughyd his Father vnto derysyon

Whiche hym, after, cursyd for his transgressyon

And made hym seruaunt to all his lyne and stocke

So shall ye Caytyfs at the conclusyon

Syns ye ar nought, and other scorne and mocke




Of them that dyspyse euerlastynge ioye, and settyth thynges transytory before thynges eternall and euerlastynge.

He is a foule that weyeth in one balaunce
The heuen and erth to knowe the heuyest
And by his foly and cursed ignoraunce
He thynketh that this wretchyd erth is best
And thoughe that here be neyther ioy nor rest
Yet had some leuer here styll to remayne
Than to depart to heuen voyde of al payne

My hande is wery: fayne wolde I rest a space

But folys comyth to my shyp so besely

That to haue rest: they wyll graunt me no grace

That nede I must theyr lewdnes notefy

But to recorde this folysshe company

They ar suche that this worlde so greatly loue

That they despyse the heuenly Royalme aboue

They often thynke in theyr mynde preuely

And by them selfe in this wyse oft they say

O glorious lorde raynynge eternally

Graunt me thy grace that I may lyue alway

To se of this worlde the extreme ende and day

This is my wyll and synguler askynge

As for thy royalme, forsoth I set no thynge

But yet this fole doth nat desyre this tyme

Of so longe lyfe, and yeres alway newe

To clens his mynde from all synfull cryme

Nor for the loue of goodnes or vertue

But rather that he his pleasour may ensue

And with his maters and felawes suche as he

To folowe ryot, delytys and enormyte.

To lyue in wantonnes and blyndnes lascyuyte

In pryde in Lechery andin couetyse

Suche sytteth theyr myndes and theyr felycyte

Not ferynge hell whiche is rewarde of vyce.

Those dredefull dennys, in a right ferefull wyse

With fyres flamynge, and manyfolde tourment

Can nat suche folys, theyr synnes cause to stent

O sleuthfull fole say why doste nat thou call

Unto thy mynde that this worldes wretchydnes

Is full of sorowe moche more bytter than gall

Uoyde of all ioy, all pleasour and swetnes

Why settest thou so moche by frayle delyciousnes

On vayne pleasours, whiche shall sothly decay

Lyke as the sone meltyth the snowe away

Man note my wordes and gyue to them credence

I say that pleasours and also ioyes mundayne

As it apereth playne by good euydence

Ar fylled with sorowe bytternes and payne

Without all rest quyete or certayne

And yet alas the worlde so doth men blynde

That it they loue and caste heuen out of mynde

Wherfore it hapneth full often as I fynde

That suche as foloweth shamefull wantonnes

Ungoodly luste, and statelynes of mynde

Shall ofte perceyue great shame and wretchydnes

And them most suffer, with great mundayne distres.

And better charges, and after must nede endure

Cruell deth whiche ende is of euery creature

The worlde shall passe: ye and all ioy mundayne

Without all doute at last shall haue an ende

And euery thynge outher fruytfull or barayne

Shall to the grounde outher firste or last discende

We se also that none can hym defende

From dethes dartis. and for conclusyon.

We dayly se many mennys confusyon.

We dayly se the fallys innumerable

And greuous deth aswell of youth as age

Thus is this wretchyd worlde moche vnstable

Wherfore me thynke it is a great outrage

To trust therto, or for an vnsure stage

Or hye place of welth or worldly honour

The presence to despyse of our sauyoure

But without doute the tyme shall come and houre

Whan all mankynde shall se hym euydent

Some to theyr ioy, some to wo and doloure

None shall eskhape that rightwyse iugement.

But eche be rewardyd as he his tyme hath spent

So they that vertuously haue lyuyd here

Despysynge this worlde shall gladly there apere

But they that here haue led theyr lyfe in vyce

For to depart ar wo in herte and mynde

And ferefull to byde that sentence of iustyce

Syns of theyr synne excuse they can none fynde

But to conclude forsoth that fole is blynde

That for worldly welth, from god wolde hym deuyde

And for vayne clay, the hye heuyn set a syde

The enuoy of Barklay to the Folys.

O blynde man whiche hast thy moste felycyte

On worldly thinges, alas make clere thy mynde

What fyndest thou here, but great aduersyte

Wylt thou for it leue yt heuenly ioy behynde

And where thou myght euerlastynge ryches fynde

Where as is helth, endles lyfe and all goodnes

Wylt thou forsake it for worldly wretchydnes

Wylt thou heuyn compare with his paynfull lyfe

There on to thynke thou art vnwyse certayne

There is concorde, here is no thynge but stryfe

There is all rest, and here is care and payne

There is true loue: here is scorne and disdayne

There is all goodnes, here all yll and offence

Nowe chuse the best: here is great difference


Of them that make noyses rehersynges of talys and do other thynges vnlaufull and dishonest in ye chirche of god.

A fole is he, and hath no mynde deuoute
And gyueth occasyon to men on hym to rayle.
Whiche goth in the chirche, his houndes hym aboute
Some rennynge, some fast tyed to his tayle
A hawke on his fyst suche one withouten fayle
Better were to be thens, for by his dyn and cry
He troublyth them that wolde pray deuoutly:

Yet of mo folys fynde I a great nomber

Whiche thynke that it is no shame nor vylany

Within the chirche, the seruyce to encomber

With theyr lewde barkynge roundynge dyn and cry

And whyle good people ar praynge stedfastly

Theyr herte to good, with meke mynde and deuout

Suche folys them let, with theyr mad noyse and shout

And whyle the prestis also them exercyse.

In matyns masse sermon or prechynge dyuyne

Or other due thynges that longe to theyr seruyce.

Techynge the people to vertue to enclyne

Than these folys as it were rorynge swyne

With theyr gettynge and talys of vycyousnes

Trouble all suche seruyce, that is sayd, more and les

In to the churche than comys another sote

Without deuocyon gettynge vp and downe

Or to be sene, and to showe his gardyd cote

Another on his fyst a Sparhauke or fawcon

Or els a Cokow, and so wastynge his shone

Before the auters he to and fro doth wander

With euyn as great deuocyon as a gander

In comys another his houndes at his tayle

With lynes and leshes and other lyke baggage.

His dogges barkyth, so that withouten fayle

The hole churche is troubled by theyr outrage

So innocent youth lernyth the same of age

And theyr lewde sounde doth the churche fyll.

But in this noyse the good people kepe them styll.

One tyme the hawkys bellys Jenglyth hye

Another tyme they flutter with theyr wynges

And nowe the houndes barkynge strykes the skye

Nowe sounde theyr fete, and nowe the chaynes rynges

They clap with theyr handes, by suche maner thynges

They make of the churche, for theyr hawkes a mewe

And Canell to theyr dogges, whiche they shall after rewe

So with suche folys is neyther peas nor rest

Unto the holy churche they haue no reuerence

But wander about to see who get may best

In rybawde wordes pryde and insolence

As mad men they fere nat our sauyours presence

Hauynge no honour vnto that holy place

Wherin is gyuen to man euerlastynge grace

There ar handlyd pledynges and causes of the lawe

There ar made bargayns of dyuers maner thynges

Byenges and sellynges scant worth a hawe

And there ar for lucre contryued false lesynges

And whyle the prest his Masse or matyns synges

These folys whiche to the Churche do repayre

Ar chattynge and bablynge as it were in a fayre

Some gygyll and lawghe and some on maydens stare

And some on wyues with wanton countenaunce

As for the seruyce they haue small force or care

But full delyte them in theyr mysgouernaunce

Some with theyr slyppers to and fro doth prance

Clappynge with their helys in churche and in quere

So that good people can nat the seruyce here

What shall I wryte of maydens and of wyues

Of theyr roundynges and vngoodly comonynge

Howe one a sclaundre craftely contryues

And in the churche therof hath hyr talkynge

The other hath therto theyr erys lenynge

And than whan they all hath harde forth hir tale

With great deuocyon they get them to the ale.

Thus is the churche defylyd with vylany

And in stede of prayer and godly oryson

Ar vsyd shamefull bargayns and talys of rybawdry

Jettynges and mockynges and great derysyon

There fewe ar or none of perfyte deuocion

And whan our lorde is consecrate in fourme of brede

Therby walkes a knaue, his bonet on his hede

And whyle those wordes of consecracion

Ar sayde of the preste in goddes owne presence

Suche caytyfs kepe talys and communycacion

Fast by the auter, thynkynge it none offence

And where as the angels ar ther with reuerence

Laudynge and worshyppynge our holy sauyour

These vnkynde caytyfs wyll scantly hym honour

Alas wherto shall any man complayne

For this foly and accostomed furour

Syns none of them theyr fautes wyll refrayne

But ay procede in this theyr lewde errour

And nat withstandynge that Christ our sauyour

Hath left vs example, that none sholde mysdo

Within the chirche, yet inclyne we nat therto.

Jhonn the euangelyst doth openly expres.

Howe criste our sauyour dyd dryue out and expell

From the Temple, suche as vsed there falsnes

And all other that therin dyd bye and sell

Saynge as it after lyeth in the Gospell

Unto the Jues rebuke and great repreues

That of goddes house they made a den of theues.

Remember this man, for why thou dost the same

Defylynge goddes Chirche with synne and vanyte

Whiche sothly was ordeyned to halowe goddes name

And to lawde and worshyp the holy trynyte

With deuout harte, loue, and all benygnyte

And with all our myght our lorde to magnyfy

And than after all the heuenly company

For this cause hath god the holy chirche ordeyned

And nat for rybawde wordes and thynges vayne

But by vs chrysten men it is distayned.

Moche wors than euer, the Jewes dyd certayne

And if our lorde sholde nowe come downe agayne.

To dryue out of the churche suche as there do syn

Forsoth I thynke, right fewe sholde byde within

The Enuoy To the Reders.

O man that bostest thy selfe in cristes name

Callynge the christen, se thou thy synne refuse

Remember well it is both synne and shame

The house of god, thus to defyle and abuse

But this one thynge causeth me oft to muse

That the false paynyms within theyr Temples be

To theyr ydols moche more deuout than we


Of them that wyllynge and knowyngly put them self in ieopardy and peryll.

He is a fole that wyll purchace and desyre
His owne deth or putteth hym selfe in ieopardy
Lepynge in a well, or in a flamynge fyre
And where he myght lyue so dyeth wyllyngly
Suche suffer theyr destruccyon worthely
And if that they be drowned outher brent
It is to late them after to repent.

I fynde mo folys yet. whome I shall note

Suche ar they whiche pray both day and nyght

To god and his sayntes cryeng with open throte

O glorious god helpe me by thy great myght

That I may clens my herte and clere my syght

Wherby all foly and synne may fro me fall

But yet this fole it leuyth nat at all

Suche folys oft pray for theyr amendement

Unto our lorde with syghynges sore and depe

But yet to synne contynually they assent

And after the same often complayne and wepe

Than say they playne that god hath had no kepe

Unto theyr prayer and taken of it no hede

But theyr owne foly is cause of theyr lewde dede

They se the peryll before theyr faces playne

That god hath ordeyned, for foly and for synne

They pray for helpe, and yet ar they full fayne

After the folys hode alway to ren

And besely laboure the same alone to wyn

So vnto god for helpe they cry and call

But they them selfe wyll helpe no thynge at all

Than thynke they theyr prayers to god nat acceptable

Bycause (anone) they haue nat all theyr wyll

And for that god is nat sone agreable

To here theyr cry and it graunt and fulfyll

These folys in theyr vyce contynue styll

And put theyr selfe in wylfull ieopardy

And where they myght they fynde no remedy

But these folys vnstabyll as the wynde

Prayeth vnto god and to his sayntis aboue

Nat knowynge what may content theyr folysshe mynde

Nor whether theyr askynge be for theyr behoue

But sothly this dare I both say and proue

And it auowe after my sympyll skyll

That neuer man shall syn without his wyll

If that one with his owne wyll doth fall

Into a well to assay the ieopardy

Whan he is there. if he lowde crye and call

Bothe on god and man for helpe and remedy

He sekyth that peryll, and dyeth worthely

So were it foly to gyue hym corde or trayne

Or other engyne to helpe hym vp agayne

Whan suche folys ar sure vpon the grounde

Without all daunger, peryll hurt or fere

They lepe in the wel and yet fere to be drowned

Empedocles though he right myghty were

With suche lyke foly hym selfe so sore dyd dere

That knowyngly and with his owne consent

Hymself he lost and by fyers fyre was brent

He lept hedelynge into the flamynge fyre

Of a brennynge hyll whiche callyd is Ethnay

To knowe the trouth, and nature to enquyre

Whether that same flame were very fyre or nay

So with his deth the trouth he dyd assay

But who that wolde hym drawen out of that hyll

Had ben a fole, syns it was his owne wyll

For why his mynde was blyndyd so certayne

That thoughe a man had hym delyuered than

The same peryll wolde he haue proued agayne

As mad as he forsoth is euery man

That is at eas, and hym nat so holde can

And also he that putteth hymselfe in drede

Or fere and peryll, where as he hath no nede

So he that prayeth to god that he may get

The blysse of heuen, and scape infernall payne

He is a fole his herte or mynde to set

On frayle ryches, welth and ioy mundayne

On stedfast fortune, on lucre or on gayne

For certaynly these thynges of worldly welth

Oft man deuydeth away from heuenly helth

Thus he that prayeth for welth or for ryches

Or in this worlde hym selfe to magnyfy

Prayeth for his hurt and cause of viciousnes

For worldly welth doth vyce oft multyply

So seke men theyr owne peryll wyllyngly

But who that prayeth, and can nat as he ought

He bloweth in the wynde, and shall nat haue his thought

And who that to honour couetyse to ascende

Or to lyue in damnable voluptuosyte

He seketh his peryll for if that he descende

From welth and worshyp to payne and pouerte

It is but worthy, and let hym pacyent be

It to endure with mynde demure and meke

He is worthy sorowe that wyll it alway seke

The enuoy of Barklay to the Folys.

Ye that fayne wolde escape all ieopardy

Auoyde suche thynges the whiche myght cause the same

To proue a peryll, is foly certaynly

Whether it be done in ernest or in game

They that so doth may theyr owne madnes blame

For he that is sure, and to a fray wyll ren

May fortune come home agayne, nosles or lame

And so were it better for to haue byd within


Of the way of felycyte and godnes, and of the payne to come vnto synners.

Many in this lyfe the cart of syn doth drawe
By payne and labour, alway right dylygent
Norysshynge theyr syn agaynst all right and lawe
And alway lyuynge after one lyke assent
But whan they ar dede than shall theyr punysshement
In hell be dowblyd with cartis of whelys foure
Where as they thought, deth shuld ende theyr laboure

God suffreth nat eche vicious fole to knowe

The wonders that he made hath on this grounde

And dayly worketh. wherfore theyr syn doth growe

So that theyr foly them selfe doth confounde

And here theyr bodyes to great labours ar bounde

Sparynge no peryll for pleasour and for gayne

Than after deth haue they euerlastynge payne

So he that here lyueth in vyce and synne

Shall extreme dolour after deth endure

Than what auantage is it for man to wyne

All orthly tresour, and of hell payne be sure

But without dowt that wretchyd creature

Whiche goddes lawes wyll nat here holde and kepe

Shall after deth haue cause to wayle and wepe

And suche as here wyll nat knowe theyr sauyour

Obseruynge his preceptis and commaundement

Whiche god hathe ordeyned to saue vs from erroure

And vs commaundyd to kepe with clene intent

Ouer all the worlde. as rule moste excellent

To lyue godly. and who so euer he be

That foloweth in this worlde voluptuosyte

Or carnall lust ryot or other offence

Wastynge his tyme in syn and viciousnes

All suche in this worlde, by theyr blynde negligence

Drawe styll the cart of greuous besynes.

With payne and charge and, whan this wretchydnes

Is past and gone, yet after this they shall

In hell endure great tourmentis eternall

There shalt (thou fole) the charet drawe alway

With dowble paynes both tedyous and cruell

Wherfore thou fole retourne the I the pray.

Seke nat the way whiche ledeth vnto hell

With his foule dennes, more darke than tunge can tell

And thoughe the way be esy streyght and playne

The ende is nought, I aduyse the tourne agayne

The way to hell is greatly occupyed

The path is playne, and easy to ouergo

The dore ay open no entre is denyed

To suche as purpose in mynde to come therto

But at the ende therof is care and wo

With syghtis odyous and abhomynable

Yet in the way ar folkes innumerable

Thus is no meruayle though this way be playne

And greatly worne syns it is hantyd so

By dyuers folys whiche haste them to that payne.

By way contynuall therto: but none therfro

The dredefull dore to them that wyll in go

Both day and nyght is open, it doth forsake

No folys that wyll theyr iourney thyther take

But that way that to hye heuen doth lye

Is way of grace plesour, and all felycyte

In it suche walke as here lyue vertuously

And blessyd men, but nat suche as vyciouse be

Yet is it narowe, and full of difficulte

There is many a harde flynt brere and thorne

And no meruayle for it is nat greatly worne

For why lewde people, whiche is the gretest sort

Forsake this way for the payne and hardnes

But godly men therin haue chefe consort

With all that lyue by grace in ryghtwysnes

Suche well consyder that heuyns blessydnes

Can nat be gotten by pleasour rest nor eas

Wherfore this way can nat suche synners pleas

God so hath ordeyned that who wyll haue vertue

Must it obtayne with payne and dilygence

And great labour, whiche many nowe eschewe

Without it be to seke synne and offence

Fewe seke the way to christis hye presence

Therby it hapneth that many a thousande

Fast rennyth leftwarde, but fewe on the right hande

The enuoy of Barklay to the Folys.

Alas man remembre heuens blyssednes

And though the way be harde that lyeth therto

Forsoke it nat for all that great sharpnes

For at the ende is lyfe and rest also

Euerlastynge glory with other ioyes mo

But who that taketh the other way certayne

Shall fynde at the ende eternall payne and wo

Thoughe the way thether be easy streyght and playne


Of the yll example of elders gyuyn vnto youth.

If that the fader and mother before theyr son
By anger or malyce brake, platter pot, or pan
The son in hande shall take some cauderon
And lerne to breke it if his small power can
Thus oft tyme chyldren haue cause to curse or ban
Theyr frendes for suche example of lewdnes
For soner that they lerne than vertue or goodes

Ye aged men rotyd in folysshnes

And folysshe parentis lewde of your langage

Vnto our shyp swyftly your selfe addres

Syns ye be worthy therin to haue a stage

Nowe cast I repreues agaynst your outrage

Whiche boldly bost you of your vnthryfty lyues

Before your maydes, your doughters and your wyues

Alas the folys of this mad company

By theyr example cause great inconuenyence

Before theyr children recountynge rybaudry

Of suche as they haue had experyence.

So gyue they to them example of offence

And in that synne wheron they bost and vant

They make them perfyte whiche erst were ignorant

Theyr wordes ar voyde of shame and honestye

Theyr lyfe is without mesure and reuerence

But yet they thynke that they moste worthy be

That moste can tell of this greuous offence

Thus all the youth that is in theyr presence

Or that doth here theyr vyce and rybawdry

Vnto the same with theyr full mynde aply

Thus theyr yonge children maners lernyth none

The wyfe hath occasyon to breke hir chastyte

So is the lyfe defyled of them echone

And to be playne, we often tymes se

That of what maners the folysshe husbondes be

Such ar theyr wyues, children and housholde

The yonge Cok lerneth to crowe hye of the olde

A folysshe Father, full hardly shall ensyne

His sone to good lyfe or to good gouernaunce

For if the father to foly doth enclyne

The sone wyll folowe his father in that daunce

And if the father vse hasarde or the chaunce

Or any prohybyt and vnlawfull game

Most comonly the sone wyll do the same

If that the husbonde be vycious of his lyfe

Wastfull or dronken, or vyle in his langage

His sonnes doughters, his seruauntes and his wyfe

Wyll lerne of hym to passe the same passage

And if the husbonde breke his maryage

If the wyfe knowe, in mynde she wyll be wroth

Without he haue a hode of the same cloth

An olde prouerbe hath longe agone be sayde

That oft the sone in maners lyke wyll be

Vnto the Father, and in lyke wyse the mayde

Or doughter, vnto the mother wyll agre

So if the elders vse enormyte

And before theyr children bost them of the same

The sone and doughter shall folowe syre and dame

The monkes thynke it lawfull for to play

Whan that the Abbot bryngeth them the dyce

Right so the Father, can nought or lytell say

Agaynst the sone, nor hym blame or chastyce

If he hym selfe be taken in that same vyce

Thus lyues the Father in synne withouten shame

And after his deth the sone shall do the same

O wretchyd maners o tyme full of furour

And full of foly without all hope to stent

Howe longe shall god our lorde and sauyour

This synne suffer without greuous punysshement

Alas it nowe apereth euydent

That the fathers foly synne and great outrage

Is left to the sonne as it were herytage

And no meruayle, for it hath neuer ben seen

That of a wolfe a shepe hath be forth brought

Or that a calfe or lambe gendred hath been

Of a fell tygre: right so if it were sought

Ouer all the worlde. a Father that is nought

Sholde scant be founde, whiche coude brynge vp his childe

With his synne in no maner poynt defylyd

The yonge crab bacwarde doth crepe or go

As doth the olde, none can hir cours redres

These yonge children for the moste part also

Foloweth theyr fathers synne and his lewdnes

But they that lyue in maners of mekenes

In honest lyfe, goodnes grace and chastyte

May brynge forth children of maners as they be

I rede howe the Phylosopher Diogenes

Sayde by a childe whiche dronken was with wyne

That his Father was in that case doutles

Whan he it gate, so his hye wyt dyuyne

Knewe that the childes maners dyd inclyne

Vnto his Fathers, and so was it founde trewe

By them whiche well that childes fader knewe

But though the Father and mother also be nought

Without dout this one thynge apereth playne

That the childe is suche as it is vp brought

And nat lyghtly chaungyd without great charge or payne

Therfore let euery man hym selfe refrayne

Within his hous from all thynge worthy blame

Than shall his children and seruautes do the same

The enuoy of Barklay.

Ye that haue children or other great housholde

Subdued to your seruyce, and your obedyence

Kepe vertuous lyfe, for that is worth great golde

And great example to youth to auoyde offence

But if ye boost you of synne and neglygence

In rybawde wordes, gyue credence to this clause

If the herers fall into incouenyence

Your lewde example is the chefe grounde and cause


Of bodely pleasour or corporall voluptuosyte

Wanton wastfull and vayne voluptuosyte
Oft blyndeth attysynge vnto inconuenyence
Many that ar rude, for theyr symplycyte
And them as shepe sleeth for all theyr innocence
But other some it kepyth with myght and violence
As bulles bounde sure to endure great care
And other as byrdes it tangleth in hir snare

Drawe nere ye folys to you I crye and call

Whiche ar of grace clene destytute and bare

Folowynge your lust and pleasour corporall

But for your soule ye take no thought ne care

To whome may I this shamefull lust compare

Saue to a harlat faynynge, fals and couetous.

Of whome comyth shame and bytes venemous

She syttyth in the strete as past both shame and fere

Hir brestes bare to tempt them that passe by

Hir face anoyntyd blasynge abrode hir here

Or els on hir folysshe front enlaced hye

Hir smocke to garnysshyd so hir dysceytfull iye

To shamfull lust a thousande doth attyce

Of youth whiche erst perchuance knewe nought of vyce

Hir chamber full of flatery and disceyte

Anone is opened the blynde fole entreth in

The hoke of deth is hyd vnder the bayte

Of folysshe lust pleasour and mortall syn

Hir soule she sellyth ryches therby to wyne

And what riches: a rewarde sothly full vyle

The soules damneth and bodyes doth defyle

The one departyth, another comys in agayne

Without all shame dare she them boldly pray

To hir fals pleasours, Thus by hir gyle and trayne

This folysshe youth to hir wyll nat denay

But vnto hir some lepe both nyght and day

Without mesure, rennynge to lese theyr lyfe

As ox or shepe vnto the bochers knyfe

The symple lambe his necke doth out extende

Vnto the Bocher his mortall ennemy

So doth these folys, sekynge a shamefull ende

And theyr owne deth, though they myght fynde remedy

O blynde fole I requyre the to aply

Vnto my wordes and thou shalt here and se.

Howe moche thou oughtest this folysshe lust to fle

The soule it damneth, and drowneth depe in hell

The wyt it wastyth, and confoundeth the mynde

It causeth man his londe and good to sell

And if that he none other mene can fynde

To rob and stele he oft tyme is inclyned

Besyde all these this fowle lust is so vyle

That with fowle sauour it shall thy body fele

Thoughe of lewde lust the ioy be short and small

And thoughe the pleasour therof be soon ouer past

The payne that foloweth it, is eternall

With wofull dolour menglyd, that euer shall last

Therfore leue of: do nat thy pleasour cast

On worldly welth, delyte ioy and pleasour

For soon they pas and chaunge at euery hour

Who that in this wretchyd worlde wyll auoyde

Of voluptuousnes the ioyes frayle and vayne

And suffre nat hym with them to be acloyde

Infect or drownyd, shall for the same certayne

Euerlastynge lyfe, and endles ioy obtayne

And for his hye tryumphe and dyuyne prudence

Haue the fruycyon of goddes hye presence

But who that wyll his carnall lust ensue

Shall here haue shame, and after payne cruell

I coude hereof dyuers examples shewe

But of right many this one I shall you tell

One Sardanapalus all other dyd excell.

In carnall lust and so his mynde dyd cast

On loue prohybyte, that grace was fro hym past

The loue of vertue was full out of his mynde

So he concludyd to sue dilyciousnes

Thynkynge after deth no welth nor ioy to fynde

For this is the sentence of the prynce of derknes

But good almyghty seynge his vycyousnes

His body and soule deuydyd soon in twayne

From worldly pleasour vnto infernall payne

By this hystory to vs it apereth playne

That from worldly pleasour and voluptuosyte

With all our myght we ought vs to refrayne

For thoughe the first of them delycious be

Theyr ende is poyson, and of sournes plente

Sue wyse men vertue, and set suche lust asyde

For they ar folys that in it lyue and byde

The enuoy of Barklay to the Folys.

Amende mad men your blynde mysgouernaunce

Subdue nat your necke to the captyuyte

Of flysshely lust and corporall pleasaunce

Nor to blynde Venus with hir lasciuyte

(If ye it note) ye dayly here and se

The mysfortune of them that it ensue

And certaynly no man can saued be

By carnall lust, but by godly vertue



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