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George Gascoigne
1534 -1577


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The Steel Glass

That age is dead and vanished long ago
Which thought that steel both trusty was and true
And needed not a foil of contraries
But showed all things even as they were indeed.
Instead whereof our curious years can find
The crystal glass which glimseth brave and bright
And shows the thing much better than it is,
Beguiled with foils of sundry subtle sights
So that they seemed and cover not to be.

This is the cause, believe me now my Lord,
That realms do rue from high prosperity,
That kings decline from princely government,
That Lords do lack their ancestors good will,
That knights consume their patrimonies still,
That gentlemen do make the merchant rise,
That ploughmen beg and craftsmen cannot thrive,
That clergy quails and hath small reverence,
That laymen live by moving mischief still,
That courtiers thrive at latter Lammas day,
That officers can scarce enrich their heirs,
That soldiers starve or preach at Tyburn cross,
That lawyers buy and purchase deadly hate,
That merchants climb and fall again as fast,
That roisters brag above their betters room,
That sycophants are counted jolly guests,
That Lais leads a ladys life aloft,
And Lucrece lurks with sober bashful grace.


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2000 Elena and Yacov Feldman