The Example of Vertu : Cantos I.-VII.

Here begynneth the boke called the example of vertu.

The prologe.

Whan I aduert in my remembraunce
The famous draughtes of poetes eloquent
Whiche theyr myndes dyd well enhaunce
Bokes to contryue that were expedyent
To be remembred without Impedyment
For the profyte of humanyte
This was the custume of antyquyte.
I now symple and moost rude
And naked in depured eloquence
For dulnes rethoryke doth exclude
Wherfore in makynge I lake intellygence
Also consyderynge my grete neglygence
It fereth me sore for to endyte
But at auenture I wyll now wryte.
As very blynde in the poetys art
For I therof can no thynge skyll
Wherfore I lay it all a part
But somwhat accordynge to my wyll
I wyll now wryte for to fulfyll
Saynt Powles wordes and true sentement
All that is wryten is to oure document
O prudent Gower in langage pure
Without corrupcyon moost facundyous
O noble Chauser euer moost sure
Of frutfull sentence ryght delycyous
O vertuous Lydgat moche sentencyous
Unto you all I do me excuse
Though I your connynge do now vse
Explicit prologus.

Capitulum Primsi.
In Septembre in fallynge of the lefe
Whan phebus made his declynacyon
And all the whete gadred was in the shefe
By radyaunt hete and operacyon
Whan the vyrgyn had full domynacyon
And Dyane entred was one degre
Into the sygne of Gemyne
Whan the golden sterres clere were splendent
In the firmament puryfyed clere as crystall
By imperyall course without incombrement
As Iuppyter and Mars that be celestyall
With Saturne and Mercury that wer supernall
Myxt with venus that was not retrograte
That caused me to be well fortunate
In a slombrynge slepe with slouth opprest
As I in my naked bedde was leyd
Thynkynge all nyght to take my rest
Morpleus to me than made abreyd
And in my dreme me thought he sayd
Come walke with me in a medowe amerous
Depeynted with floures that be delycyous
I walked with hym into a place
Where that there grue many a fayre floure
With Ioye replete and full of solace
And the trees dystyllynge redolent lycoure
More sweter fer than the Aprell shour
And tary I dyd there by longe space
Tyll that I saw before my face
A ryght fayre lady of myddell stature
And also enduyd with grete vertue
Her apparell was set with perlys pure
Whose beaute alway dyd renue
To me she sayd and ye wyll extue
All wyldnes I wyll be your guyde
That ye to fraylte shall not slyde.
Unto her I answerde o lady gloryous
I pray you tell me what is your name
For ye seeme to be ryght precyous
And I am yonge and sore to blame
Of vyces full and in vertue lame
But I wyll be ruled now by your pleasure
So that your order be made by mesure
Eclepyd I am she sayd dyscrecyon
And yf ye wyll be ruled by me
Ye shall haue Ioye without reprehencyon
And neuer fall in to fragylyte
Youth lackynge me it is grete pyte
For in what place I am exyled
They be with synne ryght oft defyled
It longeth euer vnto my properte
Youth to gyue courage for to lerne
I wyll not medle with no duplycyte
But faythfulnes I wyll dyscerne
And brynge thy soule to blesse eterne
By wyse example and morall doctryne
For youth hauynge to me is a good syne
Forsake also all euyll company
And be founde true in worde and dede
Remembre that this worlde is transytory
After thy desert shall be thy mede
Loue god alway and eke hym drede
And for no mannes pleasure be thyn owne foo
Gyue theym fayre wordes and lete theym goo.
Be to thy kynge euer true subgete
As thou sholdest be by ryght and reason
Lete thy herte lowely on hym be sete
Without ony spot of euyll treason
And be obedyent at euery season
Unto his grace without rebellyon
That thou with trouth may be companyon
Loue neuer vnloued for that is payne
Whyle that thou lyuest of that beware
Loue as thou seest the loued agayne
Or elles it wyll torne the to care
Be neuer taken in that fast snare
Proue or thou loue that is moost sure
And than thou in doubte shalt not endure.
Beware byleue no flaterynge tonge
For flaterers be moost disseyuable
Though that they company with the longe
Yet at the ende they wyll be varyable
For they by reason are not fauorable
But euermore fals and double
And with theyr tonges cause of grete trouble
This brytell worlde ay full of bytternes
Alway turnynge lyke to a ball
No man in it can haue no sykernes
For whan he clymmeth he hath a fall
O wauerynge shado
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"The Example of Vertu : Cantos I.-VII." Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 15 Sep. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/35771/the-example-of-vertu-:-cantos-i.-vii.>.

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