Satires (.PDF transfusion. Click on the image to see the whole thing!)
My mothers maydes when they did sowe and spyn They sang sometyme a song of the feld mowse ; That fobicause her lyvelood was but thyn Would nedes goo seke her townyssh systers howse. She thought her self endured to much pain ; The stormy blastes her cave so sore did sowse. That when the forowse swymmed with the rain, She must lye cold and whete in sorry plight, And wours then that, bare meet ther did remain To comfort her when she her howse had dight ; Sometyme a barlycorn ; sometyme a bene ; For which she laboured hard boeth daye and nyght In harvest tyme, whilest she myght goo and glyne ; And wher stoore was stroyed with the flodd Then well awaye ! for she undone was clene. Then was she fayne to take, in stede of fode, Slepe if she myght her hounger to begile. "My syster" quod she "hath a lyving good, And hens from me she dwelleth not a myle, In cold and storme she lieth warme and dry, In bed of downe ; the dyrt doeth not defile Her tender fote ; she laboureth not as I ; Richely she fedeth, and at the richemans cost, And for her meet she nydes not crave nor cry. By se, by land, of the delicates the moost Her Cater sekes, and spareth for no perell ; She fedeth on boyled, bacon meet, and roost, And hath therof neither charge not travaill. And when she list, the licor of the grape Doeth glad her hert : till that her belly swell. And at this jorney she maketh but a jape : So fourth she goeth, trusting of all this welth, With her syster her part so for to shape, That if she myght kepe herself in helth To lyve a Lady, while her liff doeth last. And to the dore now is she com by stelth, And with her foote anon she scrapeth full fast. Thothr for fere durst not well scarse appere, Of every noyse so was the wretch agast. At last she asked softly who was there. And in her langage, as well as she cowd, "Pepe," quod the othr, "syster I ame here." "Peace," quod the townysshe mowse, "why spekest thou so lowde ?" And by the hand she toke her fayer and well, "Welcom," quod she, "my syster, by the Roode." She fested her, that Joy it was to tell The faer they had : they drancke the wyne so clere : And as to pourpose, now and then it fell, She chered her with : "How syster, what chiere" Amyddes this Joye befell a sorry chaunce, That well awaye ! the straunger bought full dere The fare she had ; for as she loke a scaunce, Under a stole she spied two stemyng Ise In a rownde hed with sherp erys. In Fraunce Was never mowse so ferd, for tho unwyse Had not ysene such a beest before, Yet had nature taught her after her gyse To knowe her ffoo, and dred him evermore. The towney mowse fled, she knew whether to goo ; Thothr had no shift, but wonders sore Fferd of her liff, at home she wyshed her tho, And to the Dore alas, as she did skipp, Thevyn it would lo ! and eke her chaunce was so, At the threshold her sely fote did tripp, And ere she myght recover it again, The traytor Catt had caught her by the hipp ; And made her there against her will remain, That had forgotten her poure suretie, and rest, For semyng welth wherin she thought to rayne. Alas ! my Poynz, how men do seke the best And fynde the wourst, by error as they stray ; And no marvaill ; when sight is so opprest, And blynde the gyde ; anon, owte of the way Goeth gyde and all, in seking quyete liff. O wretched myndes ! there is no gold that may Graunt that ye seke ; no warr, no peace, no stryff. No, no, all tho thy hed were howpt with golde, Sergeaunt with mace, hawbert, sword, nor knyff, Cannot repulse the care that folowe should. Eche kynd of lyff hath with hym his disease. Lyve in delight evyn as thy lust would. And thou shalt fynde, when lust doeth moost the please, It irketh straite, and by it self doeth fade : A small thing it is that may thy mynde apese. Non of ye all there is, that is so madde To seke grapes upon brambles or breers ; Nor none I trow that hath his wit so badd To set his hay for Conys over Ryvers ; Ne ye se not a dragg net for an hare ; And yet the thing that moost is your desire Ye do mysseke with more travaill and care. Make playn thyn hert, that it be not knotted With hope or dred ; and se thy will be bare From all affectes, whome Vice hath ever spotted. Thy self content with that is the assigned, And use it well that is to the allotted. Then seke no more owte of thy self to fynde The thing that thou haist sought so long before ; For thou shalt fele it sitting in thy mynde, Madde if ye list to continue your sore. Let present passe and gape on tyme to com, And diepe yourself in travaill more and more ; Hens fourth, my Poyngz, this shalbe all and some ; These wretched fooles shall have nought els of me ; But to the great God and to his high dome, None other pain pray I for theim to be. But when the rage doeth led theim from the right, That lowking backward, Vertue they may se Evyn as she is, so goodly fayre and bright. And, whilst they claspe their lustes in armes a crosse, Graunt theim goode Lorde, as thou maist of thy myght, To frete inward for losing suche a losse.
Shakespeare's Sonnets (Website)