|Poem to the tune of My Lordes of Oxford Gallarde
Essex Record Office document ref. D/DRc M12 [f.62])
Transcribed by Trevor Hearn 9 January 2021
There is a translation to Modern English further down the page.
To the tune of my Lordes of oxford gallarde // 1589 (x3) [various marks]
Those that will ron a vartuous race
and larne the princes [Note 1] of ther sage [Note 2]
and those that <....> trew wesdom will imbrace
and larne to live in youth and age
lett them aproche herto w[i]th spaedd
and to ther lessones geve good heed
for baringe well the thinges awaye
and god will blese them night and day
My sonne sayth Salomon the wise
if thou trew wisdom wilt attayne
then fare thou the god that rules the skyes
for so the scripture teacheth playne
Imbrace his worde and him obay
for this is the chefe and only stay
For they that doe these thing[es] dispice
are fooles to god throug[h] wordes wyse
And to thy father honor give
and thou shalte surely blessed be
And be obediente whilste them live
and to thy mother courteously
And god will bless the[e] w[i]th increase
and sende the[e] wealthe and tresure store
All thing[es] shall p[ro]sper in thy hand[es]
and longe thou shalte injoy the lande
The blessinge of thy father deare
doth cause the childer[n]s good sucses
But where the mother doth apeare
to cu[r]se the childrense wickednes
Hir fowle intuscment[es] bringeth death
and poyson commeth from hir breste
hir eyes are wandringe to and froe
and every one hir fasheons [Note 3] know
Be never jeleous of thy wyfe
leaste she therby doth mischyfe learne
For soe shalte thou soone purchas stryfe
and doe lykewyse each thinge diserne
Off hatefull pride lykewyse beware
and have lykewyse an after care
Be not to rashe in any thinge
for that will soone repentaunce bringe
Thre thing[es] there are w[hi]ch god doth hate
as holy scripture doth declare
A man to proude in beggers estate
a riche man for to lye and sweare
To se[e] an oulde man given to luste
all these of god are sure accurste
The lijng mouth the soule doth kill
and pride and luste throweth downe to hell
While thou arte livinge cale for grace
thy lyfe is lyke the fadinge flower
Death commeth stealinge one apace
thou <.> shalte not know the day nor hower
Thy speach at all tymes will not laste
use thy tyme w[hi]ch now thou haste
And from repentaunce doe not stay
then canste noe tyme w[i]th Death delay
Note 1 Princes: a person who or thing which is pre-eminent in a specified class or sphere; the chief; the greatest or best (Source: OED)
Note 2 Sage: a man of profound wisdom (Source: OED)
Note 3 fashions: in this context "manners", "modes" or "ways" (Source: OED)
Translation to Modern English by Trevor Hearn
To the tune of: My Lord of Oxford's [Note 1] Galliard [Note 2]
Those that will run a virtuous race
and learn the greatest from their sage,
and, those enlightened, it embrace
and learn to live in youth and age.
Let them approach us here with speed
and to their lessons give good heed,
remembering what their elders say
and God will bless them night and day.
"My son", says Solomon the wise,
"if you true wisdom will attain,
then fear the God that rules the skies,
for so the scripture teaches plain".
Embrace his words and him obey,
this is the guide to live each day,
for they that do these rules despise,
are fools to God, through words so wise.
And to your father, honour give
and then shall surely blesséd be,
and be obedient while they live
and treat your mother courteously.
And God will bless you with much more
and send you wealth and treasure store.
All things shall prosper in your hands
and long may you enjoy your lands.
The blessing of your father dear
promotes the children's great success;
the mother, when she does appear,
to curse the children's wickedness.
Her foul enticements bring forth death
and poison oozes from her breast;
her eyes are wandering to and fro
and everyone her habits know.
Never be jealous of your wife
lest she by this some mischief learn,
for you shall soon discover strife
and likewise each thing you'll discern.
Of hateful pride, also beware,
and have likewise a thoughtful care,
do not be rash in any thing,
for that will soon repentance bring.
Three things for which God harbours hate
as holy scripture does declare:
a man too proud for beggar's fate,
a rich man prone to lie and swear,
an old man yielding unto lust.
All these God views with such disgust,
the lying mouth destroys the soul,
for pride and lust, hell is the toll.
While you are living, summon grace,
your life is like the fading flower.
Death comes stalking you apace,
you will not know the day or hour.
Your time for talk will not extend,
so use the time which now you spend,
and from repentance do not stray,
with Death there can be no delay.
Note 1 Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (born 12 April 1550, died 24 June 1604); succeeded his father, the 16th Earl, in 1562 at the age of 12; son of john de Vere and Margaret Golding (Source: Wikipedia)
Note 2 The galliard was a form of Renaissance dance and music popular throughout Europe in the 16th century