Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Praise of Age - Robert Henryson

Wythin a garth1, under a rede rosere,
Ane ald man and decrepit herd I syng;
Gay was the note, suete was the voce and clere;
It was grete joy to here of sik a thing.
"And to my dome2," he said in his dytyng,
"For to be yong I wald not, for my wis3,
Off all this warld to mak me lord and king:
The more of age, the nerar hevynnis blis.

"False is this warld and full of variance,
Besoucht with syn and othir sytis mo4;
Treuth is all tynt5, gyle has the gouvernance,
Wrechitnes has wroht all welthis wele to wo6,
Fredome is tynt5 and flemyt the lordis fro7,
And covatise is all the cause of this;
I am content that youthede is ago:
The more of age, the nerar hevynnis blisse.

"The state of youth I repute for na gude,
For in that state sik perilis now I see
Bot full smal grace; the regeing of his blude
Can none gaynstand quhill that he agit be8;
Syne of the thing that tofore joyit9 he
Nothing remaynis for to be callit his,
For quhy10 it were bot veray vanitee:
The more of age, the nerar hevynnis blisse.

"Suld no man traist this wrechit warld, for quhy10
Of erdly joy ay sorow is the end,
The state of it can noman certify;
This day a king, to morne na gude to spend.
Quhat have we here bot grace us to defend?
The quhilk God grant us, for to mend oure mys,
That to His glore He may oure saulis send:
The more of age, the nerar hevynnis blisse."

Robert Henryson (c.1460 – 1500) Scotland
Notes: 
1 garth - garden
2 dome - doom (judgement)
3 wis - wish (desire)
4 sytis mo - sorrows more
5 tynt - lost
6 Wrechitnes has wroht all welthis wele to wo - wretchedness (miserliness) has brought all this value to woe
7 flemyt the lordis fro - driven away from
8 Can none gaynstand quhill that he agit be - Can none withstand when that he aged be
9 tofore joyit - previously enjoyed
10 quhy - because

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