The Lamentation of Follie by William Elderton

To the tune of New Rogero.

Alas what meaneth man,
with care and greedy paine:
To wrest to win a worldly fame
which is but vile and vaine.
As though he had no cause to doubt,
the drift of his desire,
Not pleased though he rule the route,
but still to covet higher.

And wander after will,
farre passing his degrée:
Not so contented still,
but a king himselfe to be.
Subverting law and right,
detecting triall true:
Wringing every wight,
that all the realme dooth rue.

Whose déed and ill desart,
compart and false consent:
I thinke no Christen heart,
can choose but néeds lament.
Alas it seemed strange,
such thraldome in a realme:
Which wealthie was to wast away,
by will that was extreame.

Sith vertue was profest,
most famous franke and frée:
Yet men transposed cleane,
more vile and worse to be.
And such as did pretend
to shew themselfe most holie:
Have swarved in the end,
and fawned after follie.

Whose wordes so disagrée,
as waters come and go:
Their livings to be contrary,
that should examples showe.
And fawning after fame,
pursue their owne decay:
As though there were no God,
to call their life away.

What surety is in man,
what truth or trust at all:
Which frameth what he can,
to worke unworthy thrall.
Oppression hath beene frée,
the poore alas be spoyled:
Maides and wives be rauished,
the simple are beguiled.

Lawe is made a libertie,
and right is overthrowne:
Faith is but a foolish thing,
falsehood is alone.
Pride is counted clenlinesse,
and theft is but a slight.
Whoredome is but wantonnesse,
and waste is but delight.

Spoiling is but pleasure,
riot is but youth:
Slaunder is a laughing game,
and lying counted trueth.
Mariage is but mochage,
the children counted base:
Thus right is wronged every way,
in our accursed case.

Flatterie is the Forte of Fame,
and trueth is troden downe:
The innocent do beare the blame,
the wicked winne renowne.
Thus Sathan hath prevailed long,
and we for want of grace:
Have troden vertue under foote,
and vice hath taken place.

But God that is most righteous,
hath séene our fatall fall:
And spred his mercie over us,
to shield us from the thrall.
Whose mercy is so infinite,
to such as were oppressed:
He hath restored them to right,
and hath their care redressed.

And though that our unworthinesse.
hath not deserved so:
Now let us cease our wickednesse,
and graft where grace may grow.
And let us pray for our defence,
our worthy Queene elect:
That God may worke his will in her,
our thraldome to correct.

That God be chiefely served so,
as dooth to him belong:
That right may have his course againe,
and vanquish wicked wrong.
That we may live in feare and awe,
and truly to intend:
And have the justice of the lawe,
our causes to defend.

That truth may take his wonted place,
and faith be fast againe:
And then repent and call for grace,
that wrought our care and paine.
That God send us a short redresse,
with wealth and great increase:
And to our Quéene, to reigne and rule,
in honour, health, and peace.

From: Elderton, William, The lamentation of follie to the tune of New Rogero, 2008, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A21207.0001.001)

Date: ?1558

By: William Elderton (d. ?1592)

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