To Time by John Hagthorpe

Stay wrinckled Time, and slack thy winged haste,
Which from our Zenith doth so fast decline
In Westerne waves, Lethe thy selfe to taste.
Stay, and at length regard this plaint of mine:
Thy one daies course is many thousand yeares,
And I in vaine pursue thee all my time.

Whilest thy declining haste more swift appeares,
And thine owne weight precipitates thee to;
My feeble leggs their burthen hardly beares,
Whilest I pursue to catch thy harrie brow:
But thou like froward Age still writhest away,
And to my good endeavours wilt not bow.

Yet know, I come not now to beg delay
For any debt of mine, or borrowed summe;
Nor to reprive my life for some short day:
Old Time, it is for none of these I come,
But even to vent my griefes, that thou (to me
To pinching) art so prodigall to some.

The Usurer a hundred yeares can see,
To cram his chests with theft and poore mens spoile.
The Baude stored with all sorts of villanie,
And sinnes, that Hell and blacknesse selfe would soile;
Lives till her bodie be an Hospitall
Of strange Diseases, mischiefes perfect foile.

The P. and the P. that are most,
Fed by the peoples sinnes, and also feede:
Those mischiefes whereby many a man is lost,
Which be, old Time, thy worst disease indeed.
These doe not want: to doe amisse wants none;
But Time to him that would doe well’s denide.

Thou giv’st the greedie Worldling time to runne,
In quest of profit, to the frozen Climes;
Then to the burning Line, and thirsting Sunne;
To Ganges, the Mollucaes, Phillippines:
Tho (more then men) he Nature cozen will,
That heate and cold for bounds to him assignes.

Thou lend’st the Drunkard time his Cups to spill:
Th’art to the Sluggard too indulgent kind;
Thou giv’st the Murtherer time to kill;
The Thiefe and Lustfull man their prey to find;
But those that to imploy thee well are bent,
Too little, or just none have they assign’d.

Ten yeares the guiltie Lawes have from me puld;
My Wants and Cares as much; Sicknes the rest;
My best houres, but from Wants and Cares are culd.
Oh Time! must he have least that spends thee best?
Oh Time! give me a Time my selfe t’applie
To Vertue and to Knowledge, or to die,

From: Hagthorpe, John, Divine Meditations, and Elegies, 2005, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 100-101.

Date: 1622

By: John Hagthorpe (c1585-?1630)

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