The first parte of the Mirour for magistrates containing the falles of the first infortunate princes of this lande: from the comming of Brute to the incarnation of our sauiour and redemer Iesu Christe.
Higgins, John, fl. 1570-1602.
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Madan shewes how for his euill life he was 〈◊〉 of Wolues, the yeare before Christe. 1009.
AMongste the rest, that sate in hauty seate,
And felt the fall I pray the pen for mee:
A Tragedy maye some such wisedome geate,
As they may learne, and somewhat wiser bee.
For in my glasse when as themselues they see,
They may be ware my fall from 〈◊〉 lap,
Shal teach them how, t'eschew the like mishay.
I am that Madan once that Britaine kings,
Was thirde that euer raigned in this lande,
Marke well therefore my death: as straunge a thinge
As some would deeme, could scarce with reason stande:
Yet when thou hast my life well throughly scande:
Thou shalt perceiue, not halfe so straunge as true:
All life: worse death, doth after still insue,
For when my mother Guendoline had raignde
In my nonage, full xv yeares she dyed:
And I but yonge not well in vertues trainde,
Was left this Realme of Britaynes for to guide:
Whereby when once, my minde was puft with pride:
I past for nought, I vsde my lust for lawe:
Of right, or iustice reckte I not a strawe.
No meane I kept, but ruled all by rage:
No boundes of measure, could me compasse in:
Durst none aduenture anger mine t'aswage,
If once to freate and fume I did begin:
And I excelde in nothing els but sinne:
So that welnighe all men did wishe my ende,
Saue such to whom for vice I was a frende.
In pleasures pleasaunt was my whole repaste.
My youth me led deuoyde of compasse quite,
And vices were so rooted in at last:
That to recure the euill it past my might.
For who so doth with will and pleasure fight,
Though all his force do striue them to withstande,
Without good grace they haue the vpper hande.
What licoure first, the earthen pot doth take:
It keepeth still the sauour of that same.
Full hard it is a cramocke straight to make:
Or crooked logges, with wainscot fine to frame:
Tis hard to make the cruel Tiger tame:
And so it fares with those haue vices caught,
Naught once (they saye) and euer after naught.
I speake not this as though it past all cure,
From bices vile, to bertue to retire:
But this I saye if vice be once in vre,
The more you shall, to quite your selfe requyre,
The more you plunge your selfe in fulsome myre.
As he that striues in soakte quicke sirtes of sande,
Still sinkes, scarse neuer comes againe to lande.
The giftes of grace may nature 〈◊〉,
And God may graunt both time and leaue repeute:
Yet I did more in laps of lewdnes run,
And last my time in tyrauntes trade I spente.
But who so doth, with bloudy actes contente
His minde, shall sure at laste finde like againe:
And feele for pleasures, thousand panges of paine.
For in the midste of those vntrusty toyles,
When as I nothing fearde, but all was sure:
With all my trayne, I hunting rode for spoyles
Of them, who after did my death procure:
Those lewde delightes did boldly me alure,
To folow still and to pursue the chase:
At laste I came into a deserte place.
Besette with hilles, and monstrous rockes of stone,
My company behinde, me lost, or stayde:
The place was eke with hauty trees oregrowne
So wiste, and wylde it made me half afrayde,
And straight I was with rauening wolues betrayd:
Came out of caues, and dennes, and rockes a maint,
There was I rent in pieces, kilde and slaine.
Alasse that youth (in vayne) so vyly spente,
Should euer cause a king to haue such ende:
Alasse that euer I should here lament,
Or else should teache vnto my cost my frende:
Alasse that fortune such mishap should sende:
But sithe it is to late for me to crie,
I wishe that others may take hede me by.
I might full well by wisdome shund this snare,
Tis sayde a wiseman all mishap withstandes.
For though by starres we borne to mischieues are:
Yet prudence bayles vs quite from careful bandes,
Eche man (they say) his fate hath in his handes,
And what he makes, or marres to lese, or saue
Of good, or euill, is euen selfe do, selfe haue.
As here thou seest by me, that led my dayes
In vicious sorte, for greedy wolues a 〈◊〉:
Warne others wysely, than to guide their wayes
By myne example, well eschue they may,
Suche vices as may worke their owne decay:
Which if they do, full well is spent the time
To warne, to wryte, and eke to reade this time.
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