All ye that know of care and heaviness


All ye that know of care and heaviness,
My woeful fate when ye have heard,
Then judge the truth in this my great distress,
If any woe may be thereto compared;
And mark my thought as I shall it express,
For cause itself doth neither mar nor make
But even as the patient doth it take.

I think whoso doth behold my pain
Sees the soul of Sorrow grounded in grief,
The root of Woe portrayed in pain,
The cloud of Care despaired of relief,
The loathed life through-darted with Disdain.
Sorrow is I, and I even the same,
In that all men do call me by that name.

When I do cast my careful look downright
Upon the ground as though that I would fall,
Therein methinks is graven with my sight
The picture of my sorrowful thoughts all.
Yea, and the worms that appear against the night,
As me seems, they think that Death doth much ill
To leave me thus to live against my will.

Where I do use to lie right secretly
Upon a bank over a river clear,
So oft I there bewail my destiny
That the water disdaineth it to hear
And at my weeping takes great envy,
Lest the tears that from mine eyes do rain
Should cause the fish therein to mourn and plain.

Alone when I do walk the woods wand'ring,
Utt'ring my care with painful sighs and groans,
The birds, which on the boughs sit singing,
To hear my cry then cease they all at once,
Having great grudge at me and my wailing
Because it was so grievous shrill and loud
That it stunned their song thorough all the wood.
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