Stephen Hawes

Here you will find the Long Poem The Pastime of Pleasure : The First Part. of poet Stephen Hawes

The Pastime of Pleasure : The First Part.

Here begynneth the passe tyme of pleasure. 

Ryyght myghty prynce / & redoubted souerayne 
Saylynge forthe well / in the shyppe of grace 
Ouer the wawes / of this lyfe vncertayne 
Ryght towarde heuen / to haue dwellynge place 
Grace dothe you guyde / in euery doubtfull cace 
Your gouernaunce / dothe euermore eschewe 
The synne of slouthe / enemy to vertewe 
Grace stereth well / the grace of god is grete 
Whiche you hathe brought / to your ryall se 
And in your ryght / it hath you surely sette 
Aboue vs all / to haue the soueraynte 
Whose worthy power / and regall dygnyte 
All our rancour / and our debate and ceace 
Hath to vs brought / bothe welthe reste and peace 
Frome whome dyscendeth / by the ryghtfull lyne 
Noble pryuce Henry / to succede the crowne 
That in his youthe / dothe so clerely shyne 
In euery vertu / castynge the vyce adowne 
He shall of fame / attayne the hye renowne 
No doubte but grace / shall hym well enclose 
Whiche by trewe ryght / sprange of the reed rose 
Your noble grace / and excellent hyenes 
For to accepte / I beseche ryght humbly 
This lytell boke / opprest with rudenes 
Without rethorycke / or colour crafty 
Nothynge I am / experte in poetry 
As the monke of Bury / floure of eloquence 
Whiche was in tyme / of grete excellence 
Of your predecessour / the .v. kynge henry 
Vnto whose grace / he dyde present 
Ryght famous bokes / of parfyte memory 
Of his faynynge with termes eloquent 
Whose fatall fyccyons / are yet permanent 
Grounded on reason / with clowdy fygures 
He cloked the trouthe / of all his scryptures 
The lyght of trouthe / I lacke connynge to cloke 
To drawe a curtayne / I dare not to presume 
Nor hyde my mater / with a mysty smoke 
My rudenes connynge / dothe so sore cōsume 
Yet as I maye / I shall blowe out a fume 
To hyde my mynde / vnderneth a fable 
By conuert colour / well and probable 
Besechynge your grace / to pardon myne ignoraunce 
Whiche this fayned fable / to eschewe ydlenesse 
Hane so compyled / now without doubtaunce 
For to present / to your hye worthynesse 
To folowe the trace / and all the parfytenesse 
Of my mayster Lydgate / with due exercyse 
Suche fayned tales / I do fynde and deuyse 
For vnder a colour / a truthe maye aryse 
As was the guyse / in olde antyquyte 
Of the poetes olde / a tale to surmyse 
To cloke the trouthe / of theyr infyrmyte 
Or yet on Ioye / to haue moralyte 
I me excuse / yf by neclygence 
That I do offende / for lacke of scyence 

How graunde Amoure walked in a medowe & met with fame enuyronned with tongues of fyre. ca. i. 

Whan Phebus entred was / in Gemyny 
Shynynge aboue / in his fayre golden spere 
And horned Dyane / than but one degre 
In the Crabbe hadde entred / fayre and clere 
Whan that Aurora / dyde well appere 
In the depured ayre / and cruddy fyrmament 
Forthe than I walked / without impedyment 
In to a medowe / bothe gaye and gloryous 
Whiche Flora depaynted with many a colour 
Lyke a place of pleasure / most solacyous 
Encensynge out / the aromatyke odoure 
Of zepherus brethe / whiche that euery floure 
Throughe his fume / dothe alwaye engendre 
So as I went / amonge the floures tendre 
By sodayne chaunce / a fayre pathe I founde 
On whiche I loked / and ryght ofte I mused 
And than all aboute / I behelde the grounde 
With the fayre pathe / whiche I sawe so vsed 
My chaunce or fortune / I nothynge refused 
But in the pathe / forthe I went a pace 
To knowe whyther / and vnto what place 
It wolde me brynge / by ony symylytude 
So forthe I wente / were it ryght or wronge 
Tyll that I sawe / of ryall pulcrytude 
Before my face / an ymage fayre and stronge 
With two fayre handes / stretched out alonge 
Vnto two hye wayes / there in pertycyon 
And in the ryght hande / was this dyscrypcyon 
This is the streyght waye / of contemplacyon 
Vnto the Ioyfull toure pedurable 
Who that wyll walke / vnto that mancyon 
He must forsake / all thynges varyable 
With the vayneglory / somoche deceyuable 
And thoughe the waye / be harde and daungerous 
The laste ende therof / shall be ryght precyous 
And in the other hande / ryght fayre wryten was 
This is the waye / of worldly dygnyte 
Of the actyfe lyfe / who wyll in it passe 
Vnto the toure / of fayre dame beaute 
Fame shall tell hym / of the waye in certaynte 
Vnto labell pucell / the fayre lady excellent 
Aboue all other / in clere beaute splendent 
I behelde ryght well / bothe the wayes twayne 
And mused oft / whiche was best to take 
The one was sharpe / the other was more playne 
And vnto my selfe / I began to make 
A sodayne argument / for I myght not slake 
Of my grete musynge / of this ryall ymage 
And of these two wayes / somoche in vsage