THE MOST EXTENSIVE
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O blessed well of love! O flower of grace.
O sacred hunger of ambitious minds!
Oh, help thou my weak wit, and sharpen, my dull tongue!
Purged from drugs of foul intemperance.
Rising glory occasions the greatest envy, as kindling fire the greatest smoke.
Sluggish idleness--the nurse of sin.
Suddeine they see from midst of all the maine
The surging waters like a mountaine rise,
And the great sea, puft up with proud disdaine,
To swell above the measure of his guise,
As threatning to devoure all that his powre despise.
Tell me, when shall these weary woes have end? or shall their ruthless torment never cease?
Thankfulness is the tune of angels.
The canker-worm of every gentle breast.
The careful cold hath nipt my rugged rind,
And in my face deep furrows eld hath plight;
My head bespren with hoary frost I find,
And by mine eye the crow his claw doth bright;
Delight is laid abed, and pleasure past;
No sun now shines, clouds have all overcast.
The dureful oak, whose sap is not yet dried.
The fields did laugh, the flowers did freshly spring,
The trees did bud and early blossoms bore,
And all the quire of birds did sweetly sing,
And told that garden's pleasures in their caroling.
The little babe up in his arms he bent, who with sweet pleasure and bold blandishment 'gan smile.
The man whom nature's self had made to mock herself, and truth to imitate.
The nightingale is sovereign of song.
The osier good for twigs, the poplar for the mill.
The rolling billows beat the rugged shore, as they the earth would shoulder from her seat.
Their sheep have crusts, and they the bread;
The chips and they the cheer:
They have the fleece, and eke the flesh,
(O seely sheep the while!)
The corn is theirs--let others thresh,
Their hands they may not file.
Then came the autumne, all in yellow clad,
As though he joy'd in his plenteous store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
That he had banished hunger, which tofore
Had by the belly oft him pinched sore;
Upon his head a wreath that was enrol'd
With ears of corne of every sort, he bore,
And in his hand a sickle did he holde,
To reape the ripened fruit the which the earth had yold.
There learned arts do flourish in great honour
And poets's wits are had in peerless price;
Religion hath lay power, to rest upon her,
Advancing virtue, and suppressing vice.
For end all good, all grace there freely grows,
Had people grace it gratefully to use:
For God His gifts there plenteously bestows,
But graceless men them greatly do abuse.
There, though last, not least.
Therewith they gan, both furious and fell,
To thunder blowes, and fiercely to assaile
Each other, bent his enemy to quell,
That with their force they perst both plate and maile,
And made wide furrows in their fleshes fraile,
That it would pity any living eie,
Large floods of blood adowne their sides did raile,
But floods of blood could not them satisfie:
Both hongred after death; both chose to win or die.
This iron world bungs down the stoutest hearts to lowest state; for misery doth bravest minds abate.
Those that were up themselves, kept others low;
Those that were low themselves, held others hard;
He suffered them to ryse or greater grow;
But every one did strive his fellow down to throw.
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