I Have Been a Foster

I have been a foster
Long and many a day.
Foster will I be no more-
No longer shoot I may.
Yet have I been a foster.

Hang I will my noble bow
Upon the greenwood bough,
For I cannot shoot in plain
Nor yet in rough
Yet have I been a foster.

Every bow for me is too big.
Mine arrow nigh worn is.
The glue is slipped from the nick.
When I should shoot, I miss.
Yet have I been a foster.

Lady Venus hath commanded me
Out of her court to go.
Right plainly she shewith me
That beauty is my foe.
Yet have I been a foster.

My beard is so hard, God wot,
When I should maidens kiss,
They stand aback and make it strange.
Lo, age is cause of this.
Yet have I been a foster.

Now will I take to me my beads
For and my saints' book,
And pray I will for them that may,
For I may nought but look.
Yet have I been a foster.

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