Introductory Poem to the Penitential Psalms

Love to gyve law unto his subject hertes
Stode in the Iyes of Barsabe the bryht;
And in a look annone hymsellff convertes,
Cruelly plesant byfore kyng David syght;
First dasd his Iyes, and forder forth he stertes,
With venemd breth as sofftly as he myght
Towcht his sensis and overronnis his bonis
With creping fyre, sparplid for the nonis.

And when he saw that kendlid was the flame,
The moyst poyson in hiss hert he launcyd,
So that the sowle did tremble with the same;
And in this brawle as he stode and trauncyd,
Yelding unto the figure and the frame
That those fayre Iyes had in his presens glauncid,
The forme that love had printyd in his brest
He honorth it as thing off thinges best.

So that forgott the wisdome and fore-cast
(Wych wo to Remes when that thes kynges doth lakk)
Forgettyng eke goddes majestie as fast
Ye, and his own, forthwith he doth to mak
Urye to go into the feld in hast,
Urye, I say, that was his Idolles mak,
Under pretence off certen victorye,
For enmy's swordes a redy pray to dye.

Wherby he may enjoy her owt of dowt,
Whom more then god or hymsellff he myndyth;
And after he had browght this thing abowt
And off that lust posest hym sellff, he fyndyth
That hath and doth reverse and clene torn owt
Kynges from kyndomes and cytes undermyndyth:
He blyndyd thinkes this trayne so blynd and closse
To blynd all thing that nowght may it disclosse.

But Nathan hath spyd owt this trecherye
With rufull chere, and settes afore his face
The gret offence, outrage and Injurye,
That he hath done to god as in this Case,
By murder for to clok Adulterye;
He shewth hym ek from hevyn the thretes, alas;
So sternly sore this prophet, this Nathan,
That all amasid this agid woofull man:

Lyke hym that metes with horrour and with fere,
The hete doth strayt forsake the lymms cold,
The colour eke drowpith down from his chere,
So doth he fele his fyer maynifold.
His hete, his lust and plesur all in fere
Consume and wast; and strayt his crown of gold,
His purpirll pall, his sceptre he lettes fall,
And to the ground he throwth hymsellff withall.

The pompous pryd of state and dygnite
Forthwith rabates repentant humblenes;
Thynner vyle cloth then clothyth poverte
Doth skantly hyde and clad his nakednes;
His faire, hore berd of reverent gravite
With ruffeld here knowyng his wykednes:
More lyke was he the sellff same repentance
Then statly prynce off worldly governance.

His harpe he taketh in hand to be his guyde,
Wherwith he offerth his plaintes his sowle to save,
That from his hert distilles on every syde,
Withdrawyng hym into a dark Cave
Within the grownd wherein he myght hym hyde,
Fleing the lyght, as in pryson or grave:
In wych as sone as David enterd had,
The dark horrour did mak his fawte a drad.

But he withowt prolonging or delay
Rof that that myght his lord, his god, apese,
Fallth on his knees and with his harp, I say,
Afore his brest, frawtyd with disese
Off stormy syghes, his chere colourd lyk clay,
Dressyd upryght, seking to conterpese
His song with syghes, and towching of the strynges
With tendre hert, Lo thus to god he synges.
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