A commendation of lowlynesse for her consolation

F. T

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To shew the value price and worthines,
And truely to describe humilitie:
(Which is in Englishe called lowlynes)
So liuely as to say, loe this is shee.

Although it passe my learning and my skill,
Yet is my labour to her such a debt:
Of right so due that as I can I will,
To quiten her my diligence beset.

And tell her praise as nere as I can gesse,
Her nature her effect and qualitie:
Although for want of cunning I them lesse,
So faire vnable her to beautifie.

A worke for him that learned were and wise,
And had of collors and of Rethoricke:
As doth belong to such an enterprise,
Or else that coulde of Science poeticke.

With who though mine acquaintance be but small,
Such as I haue (if any thing as be)
She doth command hath done and euer shall,
Winne I thereby or lose nought recketh me.

Then duely of this vertue to discource,
In order Shewing what she is and whence.
And of what vertues origin and source,
I purpose asking (Lord) thine assistence.

And seeking first from whence she hath her name,
Of earth I finde doth come humilitie:
Then ought she be resemblant to the same.
Now is the earth the lowest in degree.

I meane of euery other element,
Which round about her ben encompassed:
Yet with that place doth hold her well content,
Sith he that all might hath so ordered.

Who though he gaue to her the lowest seat,
Yet we that dwell vpon her daily see:
In how great kindnes be doth her intreat,
And vs his creatures that in her bee.

For there nys element so high ne tall,
That doth not serue her by commandement,
The Sunne his beames vpon her must let fall,
And cloudes their fatnes and their norishment.

Hence for my matter gather I this proofe,
That as the earth contented is to dwell:
In base estate and yet for her behoofe,
Prouided is and furnished so well.

Whereas if otherwise she would becall,
Heaue the Moone the Starres, or else, ye Sunne:
I doubt not but that worse would her befall,
Wisely therfore she leaueth it vndonne.

And holdeth to the place where she was set,
Ne with the planets seeketh to compare:
But from them doth her necessaries fet,
Which they to yelden her contented are.

That by the same example we are taught,
which ben her children of her body borne:
Considered that we be come of naught,
Of base and lowe degree to thinke no scorne.

Which is the thing I call humilitie.
And is a vertue deere and precious:
And hath the promise of eternitie,
And in this life of blessings meruellous,

In earth begetteth peace and plentie,
Two things now wished for of all mankind,
By their contraries I may well conclude,
Who maken heauy hart and wofull mind.

To proue the first which is that lowlines.
Begetteth peace, It is as euident:
As it is plaine that pride doth nothing lesse,
For proofe wherof there neede none argument.

But yf that matter wyll you not suffice,
And that ye wyll demaund aucthoritie:
Reade bookes that of such matter soon deuise,
In holy or in prophane historie.

If ye can finde that there was trueth or loue,
Or vnitie of hart in house or towne:
Where euery Iauell needes would be aboue.
And held his halpeny to be a crowne.

Marke (I say) yf ye haue seene charitie,
And louing kindnesse in any nacion:
Suffering eche others aduersitie,
Which is the thing we call compassion.

Marke well these persons and their gouernaunce:
And ye shall finde on perill of my lyfe:
They been such as doon not them selues aduaunce,
Ne wyll for litle matter mouen stryfe.

As doon the proud, who therof thinke disdayne,
I meane to borowe any euyl woord:
That they ne pay it treble home agayne,
So largely any good they nold affoord.

Then ryseth quarell vp goe the fistes and battes,
And I as good as thou, and thou as I:
Out gon sub penes, out slaien latitattes,
Who may him rule, who may him pacifye.

Then warrants of the peace, and good abearing,
And deepe othes sworne of matters daungerous:
For feare of meeting with a pickled hearing,
And mountaynes made of matters fryuolous,

For councell he ne wanteth of his sort,
That wyll him tell his cause is very good:
And with such words his folly wyll support,
Then must they goe to let a hoggeshed blood.

Or els a barrell of strong ale or beere,
Whereas betweene the goblet and the wall:
His aduersarie shall abie full deere,
And casten hold the matter wyll befall.

Of learned lawyer seeketh he no skill,
Him needeth not, for why be hath at hand:
A broker that shall teache him lawe his fill,
And shew him fully how his case dooth stand.

Though bene studied in his lyfe a day,
Yet through his brocage and his great practise:
Beareth him selfe so, that he dareth say,
The lawe shal end right as he dooth deuise.

And sayth, he hath to muche abused you,
And thus and thus he pleadeth all the case:
Telleth what action must be brought, and how,
All for a matter deer of quater ase.

They neuer wyll geue councell to submit,
That were humilitie, that were to vyle:
Nor to our estimation dooth sitt,
Untyl our purse haue had the lax a whyle.

And then our neighbours may our matter end,
Though woorse then vs was offered before:
And reason good we may no longer spend,
Thus many a wylfull man his thrift hath lore.

And for it hath been laughed well to scorne,
By flatterers that han vpon him fed:
And filled their hoodes with good strong ale in corne,
For which his purse full hartily hath bled.

This would not chaunce so oft yf lowlynes,
Were halfe esteemed as she ought to be:
Nor such extremities sought of redresse,
For with discresion procedeth she.

And oft with sufferaunce dooth ouercome,
Leauing reuenge to hym that wyl and shall:
Reuenge the wrongs that to thee iust are doone,
And bring full lowe their Cedars high and tall.

And so much for my proofe that lowlinesse,
Begetteth concord, and dooth noorishe peace:
Which twayne who is so lewde but wyll confesse,
They been the cause of wealth & of encrease.

And are of Towne and Countrey such defence,
As is no Bulwarke, ne Municion:
Agaynst the foe to maken resistence,
As hath been proued yeeres and dayes agon.

For God who may not lye hath promised,
Where brethren dwell togeather as in loue:
With lyfe and blessinges to be cherished,
They may not faile, & that from heauen aboue.

To proue this matter of it selfe so plaine,
Me needeth bring no more aucthoritie:
Ne what the fathers of such matters sayen,
Experience doth it so ratifye:

Wherefore to turne agayne to lowlines,
The matter of my woorke, and for whose sake:
To trauell in so great a busines,
So hygh and woorthy I haue vndertake.

I say she hath such multiplicitie,
Of fauour and of grace especiall:
That I dare call her of humanitie,
The note, the proofe, and iudgement principall.

Whereby a man doth differ from a beast,
For one hath wylful inclination:
And reason none of deede, ne of beheast,
But violence of sense and passion.

Of whom God by his prophete Dauid sayeth,
Be not (sayth he) lyke vnto Horse or Mule:
That more his wyl, then any reason wayeth,
And must with bitte and brydle liue in rule.

Whereas the soule of man is reasonable,
And of his lust and wyll hath gouernaunce:
But yf he abuse that gyft inestimable,
Which to the lowly hart dooth seeldome chaunce.

For once he seemeth small in his owne eyes,
Of godly minde a mighty argument:
And of a man whom litle may suffise,
Both woorthy of great prayse in myne entent.

For be it much or lit that he possesseth,
Of land or see, of siluer or of golde:
His hart encreaseth not thereby, ne lesseth,
As edoon these fooles, for they han gotten molde.

What some by legacie, some by discent,
By title auncestrel and coosinage:
Some, for in all their lyfe no trueth they ment,
But vsure bribring, and such foule outrage.

And so haue filled cupbord, chest, and coffer,
For which hem thinketh they should been aboue:
And that ech wyght to them should dowke & proffer,
All for theyr wealth, and nothing for their loue.

For loue dooth nothing for their purpose make,
That seeken worldly pompe and maintenaunce:
Not askyng question for conscience sake,
In bargayne, purchase, or in cheuisaunce.

Of word, of yard, of measure, ne of weight,
Of thirtie for a hundred by the yeere:
Not plainely tooke, but closely and by sleight,
Aske of the Brokers howe, and ye shall heare.

Yet for they breake no house by violence,
Nor by the high wayes in await doo lye:
But robbe at home withouten resistence,
No man agaynst them dare make hue and cry.

But yf the godly preacher lyght thereon,
Who for his words are spoken vnto all:
Tushe good ynough say they he named non,
And so from euill vnto woorse they fall.

For these are statutes made and ordinaunce,
To bridle their vnsaciablenesse:
That make the fatherlesse and wydow daunce,
With hungry bellies through their cursednesse.

Not for the other safely dare I say,
Who standeth of his God in such an awe:
And by his word so ordereth his way.
That he is to him selfe a perfect lawe.

Thinketh of God, and that before his eyes,
He goeth, and that to him there is no night:
Wayeth also that what so men deuise,
How so they collouren their deedes with slight.

They may not him deceiue ne bleare his eye,
As they can do to men by diuerse wayes:
Auoyding lawes their paine and penaltie,
Yea and of wisedome thereby get the praise.

If all these things come of humilitie,
Why may I not conclude vpon her then:
And say no man can praise her worthely,
Ne shew what good she doth the sonnes of men.

But for my fynall proofe this will I say,
That read the bookes of kings and ye shall finde:
How God accepted lowlines alway.
And made the proud and hautie come behinde.

And them despised though with sacrifice,
And many a ceremony they him sought:
Which (as appeereth well) he did dispise,
For that so well they of them selues thought

Ye fast saith he to smyten with your fist,
And to your debters done oppression:
Your harts to meeke and humble ye resist,
Yet shame ye not to make profession.

Of sacrifice and of religion,
With solempne outward ceremony:
Hypocrisie and meere derision,
Where in the hart is not humility.

Shortly the humble, lowe, and contrite hart,
Sayth Dauid, is to God most acceptable:
That wyll I offer (sayth he) for my part,
And Bullockes of my lippes lay on thy table.

Wherein almighty God vs graunt that we,
By his example, and a number mo:
Enforsen vs, such as he was to be,
Encreas and blesse all them that wyshen so.

That eche man seeking others, not his owne,
In pacience, and longanimitie:
Of lyfe may make his callyng to be knowen,
And wynne the weake, to praysen God thereby.

Through stedfastnesse and trueth in woord & deede,
Abhorring filthy gayne, and all excesse:
Supportyng eche another in his neede,
Accompting godly liuing great richesse.

Shortly subduing lust and lewde desyre,
Of sport or speeche, and fleshes foule delite:
May so put out of wickednesse the fyre,
And growe in fruites and graces of the spirite.

And thus much of this vertue haue I said,
Of duetie bound and eke most willingly:
The rather for pride hath her sore affraid:
And bosteth he will putten out her eye.

Which God of his pure grace sheild and defend,
And blesse his people and inheritance:
To him be laud and praise world without end,
And of all creatures obeyssance.

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