Thomas Lord Vaux (1509-1556)
The Aged Lover Renounceth Love
1 I loathe that I did love,
2 In youth that I thought sweet;
3 As time requires for my behove,
4 Me thinks they are not meet.
5 My lusts they do me leave,
6 My fancies all be fled,
7 And tract of time begins to weave
8 Gray hairs upon my head.
9 For age, with stealing steps,
10 Hath clawed me with his crutch,
11 And lusty life away she leaps
12 As there had been none such.
13 My muse doth not delight
14 Me as she did before,
15 My hand and pen are not in plight
16 As they have been of yore.
17 For reason me denies
18 This youthly idle rhyme,
19 And day by day to me she cries,
20 Leave off these toys in time.
21 The wrinkles in my brow,
22 The furrows in my face,
23 Say limping age will hedge him now
24 Where youth must give him place.
25 The harbinger of death,
26 To me I see him ride;
27 The cough, the cold, the gasping breath,
28 Doth bid me to provide
29 A pickaxe and a spade,
30 And eke a shrouding sheet;
31 A house of clay for to be made
32 For such a guest most meet.
33 Me thinks I hear the clerk
34 That knolls the careful knell,
35 And bids me leave my woeful work
36 Ere nature me compel.
37 My keepers knit the knot
38 That youth did laugh to scorn,
39 Of me that clean shall be forgot
40 As I had not been born.
41 Thus must I youth give up,
42 Whose badge I long did wear;
43 To them I yield the wanton cup
44 That better may it bear.
45 Lo, here the bared skull
46 By whose bald sign I know
47 That stooping age away shall pull
48 Which youthful years did sow.
49 For beauty, with her band,
50 These crooked cares hath wrought,
51 And shipped me into the land
52 From whence I first was brought.
53 And ye that bide behind,
54 Have ye none other trust;
55 As ye of clay were cast by kind,
56 So shall ye waste to dust.
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