Archive for June 4th, 2015

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The Substance of Humaine Flesh by Richard Rowlands Verstegen

As once I did behold,
The potters active skil,
In ordring of his earthen pots,
According to his wil.

And some for woorthy use.
And some for servile trade,
As hee them from one clod of clay,
In sundry fashons made.

And when they al were wrought,
And each was put a parte,
No cause they had (If they had could)
To blame their makers arte.

To each it might suffise,
To serve his use asygn’d,
Since each to serve some proper use,
Was utile in his kynde.

Then as thereat I mus’d,
It came unto my thought,
How God even from one masse of clay,
All humaine kynd had wrought,

Aswel the silly wretch,
That lives in low degree,
As any mighty Emperor,
How puisant so hee bee.

And how at his estate,
None rightly may repyne,
Since that the woork man of his woork,
Hath freedome to •esigne.

And each in each degree,
Sufficient hath in charge,
And hee the more whose mighty rule,
Extendeth moste at large.

For how more great the charge.
Cares burden greater weyes,
And greatnesse beares the greatest brunt,
And breedes the lesser ease.

And vertue can aswel
In cottages remaine,
As honor may in high estate,
In courtes of Princes raigne.

Let each him then dispose,
Wel in his charge to serve,
To have the hyre that at the last,
Wel-doing doth deserve.

For when a whyle on earth,
Each hath serv’d in his turne,
Earths fragile woork earst made of earth,
Must unto earth returne.

From: Verstegan, Richard, Odes in Imitation of the Seaven Penitential Psalmes, with Sundry Other Poemes and Ditties Tending to Devotion and Pietie, 1601, A. Concinx: Antwerp, pp. 107-108.

Date: 1601

By: Richard Rowlands Verstegen (c1550-1640)