The minor poems of the Vernon ms. ... (with a few from the Digby mss. 2 and 86) ...
Horstmann, Carl, b. 1851., Furnivall, Frederick James, 1825-1910.
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12. This World fares as a Fantasy.

(11 stanzas of 12, abab abab bcbc.)

I wolde witen of sum wys wiht
Witterly what þis world were.
Hit fareþ as a foules fliht,
Now is hit henne, now is hit here;
Ne be we neuer so muche of miht,
Now be we on benche, nou be we on bere,
And be we neuer so war and wiht,
Now be we sek, now beo we fere;
Now is on proud wiþ-outen peere,
Now is þe selue .I.-set not by;
And whos wol alle þing her[t]ly here,
Þis world fareþ as a ffantasy.
¶ Þe sonnes cours we may wel kenne,
Aryseþ Est and geþ doun West.
Þe Ryuers in-to þe séé þei renne,
And hit is neuer þe more al-mest.
Wyndes Rosscheþ her and henne,
In snouȝ and reyn is non arest. Page  693
¶ Whon þis wol stunte, ho wot, or whenne,
But only god on grounde grest?
Þe eorþe in on is euer prest,
Now bi-dropped, now al druyȝe.
But vche gome glit forþ as a gest;
Þis world fareþ as a ffantasye.
¶ Kunredes come, & kunredes gon,
As Ioyneþ generacions;
But alle heo passeþ, euerichon,
ffor al heor preparacions,
Sum are for-ȝete clene as bon
A-mong alle-maner nacions.
So schul men þenken vs no-þing on,
Þat nou han þe ocupacions,
And alle þeos disputacions
Idelyche all vs ocupye,
ffor crist makeþ þe creacions,
And þis world fareþ as a fantasye.
¶ Whuch is Mon, ho wot, and what,
Wheþer þat he be ouȝt or nouht?
Of Erþe & Eyr groweþ vp a gnat,
And so doþ Mon whon al his souht.
Þauȝ mon be waxen gret and fat,
Mon melteþ a-wey so deþ a mouht;
Monnes miht nis worþ a Mat,
But nuyȝeþ him-self and turneþ to nouȝt.
Ho wot, saue he þat al haþ wrouȝt,
Wher mon bi-comeþ whon he schal dye?
Ho knoweþ bi dede, ouȝt bote bi þouȝt?
ffor þis world fareþ as a fantasye.
¶ Dyeþ mon, and beestes dye,
And al is on Ocasion:
And alle o deþ, hos boþe drye,
And han on Incarnacion;
Saue þat men beoþ more sleyȝe,
Al is o comparison. Page  694
ho wot ȝif monnes soule styȝe,
And bestes soules synkeþ doun?
Who knoweþ Beestes entencioun, [folio 409b]
On heor creatour how þei crie,
Saue only god þat knoweþ heore soun?
ffor þis world fareþ as a fantasye.
¶ Vche secte hopeþ to be saue,
Baldely bi heore bi-leeue,
¶ And vchon vppon God heo craue:
Whi schulde God wiþ hem him greue?
Vchon trouweþ þat oþur Raue,
But alle heo cheoseþ God for cheue,
And hope in God vchone þei haue,
And bi heore wit heore worching preue.
Þus mony maters men dou meue,
Sechen heor wittes hou and why,
But Godes Merci vs alle bi-heue,
ffor þis world fareþ as a fantasy.
¶ ffor þus men stumble & sere heore wittes,
And meueþ maters mony and fele;
Summe leeueþ on him, sum leueþ on hit,
As children leorneþ for to spele.
But non seoþ non þat a-bit,
Whon stilly deþ wol on hym stele.
ffor he þat hext in heuene sit,
He is þe help and hope of hele;
ffor wo is ende of worldes wele:
Vche lyf loke wher þat .I. lye.
Þis world is fals, fikel and frele,
And fareþ but as a fantasye.
¶ Wharto wilne we forte knowe
Þe poyntes of Godes priuete?
More þen him lustnes forte schowe,
We schulde not knowe in no degre,
And Idel bost is forte blowe
A Mayster of diuinite; Page  695
Þenk we lyue in eorþe her lowe,
And God an heiȝ in Mageste.
Of Material Mortualite
Medle we & of no more Maistrie.
Þe more we trace þe Trinite,
Þe more we falle in fantasye.
¶ But leue we vre disputisoun,
And leeue on him þat al haþ wrouȝt;
We mowe no[t] preue bi no resoun
Hou he was born þat al vs bouȝt.
But hol in vre entencioun
Worschipe we him in herte & þouȝt,
ffor he may turne kuyndes vpsedoun
Þat alle kuyndes made of nouȝt.
Whon al vr bokes ben forþ brouht,
And al vr craft of clergye,
And al vr wittes ben þorw-out souȝt,
Ȝit we fareþ as a fantasye.
¶ Of fantasye is al vr fare,
Olde & ȝonge and alle I-fere.
But make we murie & sle care
And worschipe we god, whil we ben here,
Spende vr good and luytel spare;
And vche mon cheries oþeres cheere,
Þenk hou we comen hider al bare,
Vr wey wendyng is in a were.
Prey we þe prince þat haþ no pere,
Tac vs hol to his Merci
And kepe vr Concience clere,
ffor þis world is but fantasy.
¶ Bi ensaumple men may se:
A gret treo groweþ out of þe grounde;
No þing a-bated þe eorþe wol be
Þauȝ hit be huge, gret and rounde.
Riht þer wol Rooten þe selue tre,
Whon elde haþ maad his kuynde aswounde; Page  696
Þauȝ þer weore rote suche þre,
Þe eorþe wol not encrece a pounde.
Þus waxeþ & wanteþ Mon, hors & hounde;
ffrom nouȝt to nouȝt þus henne we hiȝe
And her we stunteþ but a stounde,
ffor þis world is but fantasye.
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