Shall thee no more haply for very shame assail.
But when thou mayst once the triumph obtain
As thou shouldst incontinent fight again,
For if thou be ready the devil will thee fear:
Wherefore in any wise so ever thou thee bear
That thou remember and have ever in memory
In victory battle in battle victory.
THE .IX. RULE.
If thou think thyself well fenced and sure
Consider frail glass may no distress endure,
And great adventurers oft curse the dice:
Jeopard not too far therefore an ye be wise,
But evermore eschew the occasions of sin,
For he that loveth peril shall perish therein.
THE .X. RULE.
In all temptation withstand the beginning:
To suffer them wax is a jeopardous thing:
Beat out their brains therefore at the Stone:
Perilous is the canker that catcheth the bone:
Too late cometh the medicine if thou let the sore
By long continuance increase more & more.
THE .XI. RULE.
Though in the time of the battle and war
Yet consider it is more pleasure far
Over the devil to be a conqueror
Then is in the use of thy beastly pleasure:
Of virtue more joy the conscience hath within
Than outward the body of all his filthy sin.
In this point many men err for negligence,
But like rude beasts unadvisedly
Lacking discretion they compare & apply
Of their foul sin the voluptuous delight
To the laborious travail of the conflict & fight.
And yet alas he that oft hath known
Of his cruel enemy to be overthrown,
Should once at the least wise do his diligence
To prove and assay with manly defence
What pleasure there is, what honour peace & rest
In glorious victory triumph and conquest.
THE .XII. RULE.
Though thou be tempted despair thee nothing:
When he had seen God in his perfect being,
Left such revelation should his heart extol,
His flesh was suffered rebel against the soul:
This did almighty God of his goodness provide
To preserve his servant from the danger of pride.
And here take heed that he whom God did love,
Ravished into the third heaven above,
Yet stood in peril lest pride might him depose:
Well ought we then our hearts fence & close
Against vainglory the mother of reproof,
The very crop and root of all mischief.
Against this pomp & wretched world's glose
Humbled himself for us unto the cross:
And peradventure death within one hour
Shall us bereave wealth riches and honour:
And bring us down full low both small & great
To vile carrion and wretched worms' meat.
Here follow the .XII. weapons of spiritual battle which every man should have
The pleasure little & short.
The loss of a better thing.
This life a dream and a shadow.
The death at our hand & unaware.
The fear of impenitent departing.
Eternal joy eternal pain.
The nature & dignity of man.
The peace of a good mind.
The great benefits of God.
The painful cross of Christ.
The witness of martyrs and example of saints.
THE .XII. WEAPONS HAVE WE MORE AT LENGTH DECLARED AS IT
Consider well the pleasure that thou hast,
In vain smell or in thy lickerish taste,
Or finally in whatsoever delight
Occupied is thy wretched appetite:
Thou shalt it find when thou hast all cast
Little, simple, short, and suddenly past.
THE FOLLOWERS GRIEF & HEAVINESS.
Any good work if thou with labour do,
If thou do evil with pleasure joined thereto,
The pleasure which thine evil work doth contain
Glideth his way, thou mayst him not restrain:
The evil then in thy breast cleaveth behind
With grudge of heart and heaviness of mind.
THE LOSS OF A BETTER THING.
When thou labourest thy pleasure for to buy
Upon the price look thou thee well advise,
Thou sellest thy soul therefore even by & by
To thy most utter dispiteous enemies:
A mad merchant, O foolish merchandise,
To buy a trifle, O childish reckoning,
And pay therefor so dear a precious thing.
THIS LIFE A DREAM AND A SHADOW.
This wretched life (the trust & confidence
Thou perceivest well by experience,
Sith that hour in which it did begin,
It holdeth on the course and will not lynne,
But fast it runneth on and passen shall
As doth a dream or a shadow on the wall.
DEATH AT OUR HAND AND UNWARE.
Consider well that ever night and day,
For our disport revel mirth and play,
For pleasant melody and dainty fare:
Death stealeth on full slyly, and unaware
He lieth at hand and shall us enterprise
We not how soon nor in what manner wise.
FEAR OF IMPENITENT DEPARTING.
If thou shouldst God offend think how therefor
For haply thou shouldst not live an hour more
Thy sin to cleanse, & though thou haddest space.
Yet peradventure shouldst thou lack the grace:
Well ought we then be afeared to done offence
Impenitent lest we departen hence.
ETERNAL REWARD ETERNAL PAIN.
Thou seest this world is but a thoroughfare,