And idiots still are running after boys;
Then fools and children fitt’st to go together.
He still as young as when he first was born,
Nor wiser I than when as young as he;
You that behold us, laugh us not to scorn;
Give nature thanks you are not such as we!
Yet fools and children sometimes tell in play;
Some wise in show, more fools indeed than they.
Love, banished heaven, in
earth was held in scorn,
Wand’ring abroad in need and beggary;
And wanting friends, though of a goddess born,
Yet craved the alms of such as passed by.
I, like a man devout and charitable,
Clothed the naked, lodged this wandering guest;
With sighs and tears still furnishing his table
With what might make the miserable blest.
But this ungrateful for my good desert,
Enticed my thoughts against me to conspire,
Who gave consent to steal away my heart,
And set my breast, his lodging, on a fire.
Well, well, my friends, when beggars grow thus bold,
No marvel then though charity grow cold.
I hear some say, “This
man is not in love!”
“Who! can he love? a likely thing!” they say.
“Read but his verse, and it will easily prove!”
O, judge not rashly, gentle Sir, I pray!
Because I loosely trifle in this sort,
As one that fain his sorrows would beguile,
You now suppose me all this time in sport,
And please yourself with this conceit the while.
Ye shallow cens’rers! sometimes, see ye not,
In greatest perils some men pleasant be,
Where fame by death is only to be got,
They resolute! So stands the case with me.
Where other men in depth of passion cry,
I laugh at fortune, as in jest to die.
O, why should nature niggardly
That foreign nations relish not our tongue?
Else should my lines glide on the waves of Rhine,
And crown the Pyren’s with my living song.
But bounded thus, to Scotland get you forth!
Thence take you wing unto the Orcades!
There let my verse get glory in the north,
Making my sighs to thaw the frozen seas.
And let the bards within that Irish isle,
To whom my Muse with fiery wings shall pass,
Call back the stiff-necked rebels from exile,
And mollify the slaughtering gallowglass;
And when my flowing numbers they rehearse,
Let wolves and bears be charmed with my verse.