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DE VERE, Edward (Earl of OXFORD)

The Labouring Man That Tills the Fertile Soil

The labouring man that tills the fertile soil
And reaps the harvest fruit hath not indeed
The gain, but pain, and if for all his toil
He gets the straw, the Lord will have the seed.

The Manchet fine falls not unto his share,
On coarsest cheat his hungry stomach feeds.
The Landlord doth possess the finest fare;
He pulls the flowers, the other plucks but weeds.

The mason poor, that builds the Lordly halls,
Dwells not in them, they are for high degree;
His Cottage is compact in paper walls,
And not with brick or stone as others be.

The idle Drone that labours not at all
Sucks up the sweet of honey from the Bee.
Who worketh most, to their share least doth fall;
With due desert reward will never be.

The swiftest Hare unto the Mastiff slow
Oft times doth fall to him as for a prey;
The Greyhound thereby doth miss his game we know
For which he made such speedy haste away.

So he that takes the pain to pen the book
Reaps not the gifts of goodly golden Muse,
But those gain that who on the work shall look,
And from the sour the sweet by skill doth choose.

For he that beats the bush the bird not gets,
But who sits still, and holdeth fast the nets.

Loss of Good Name

Framed in the front of forlorn hope, past all recovery,

I stayless stand to abide the shock of shame and infamy.

My life through lingering long is lodged, in lair of loathsome ways,

My death delayed to keep from life, the harm of hapless days;

My spirits, my heart, my wit and force, in deep distress are drowned,

The only loss of my good name, is of these griefs the ground.


Love Thy Choice

Who taught thee first to sigh, alas, my heart ?

Who taught thy tongue the woeful words of plaint ?

Who filled your eyes with tears of bitter smart ?

Who gave thee grief and made thy joys to faint ?

Who first did paint with colours pale thy face ?

Who first did break thy sleeps of quiet rest ?

Above the rest in court who gave thee grace ?

Who made thee strive in honour to be best ?

In constant truth to bide so firm and sure,

To scorn the world regarding but thy friends ?

With patient mind each passion to endure,

In one desire to settle to the end ?

Love then thy choice wherein such choice thou bind,

As nought but death may ever change thy mind.