A Luve Ron

1.

A maid of Christ did me entreat
That I make her a love-song
By which she might best learn to choose
A lover true and wholesome;
The truest he of all who're born
Most meet to wed a lady:
Unwilling to refuse her aught
I'll teach her as becomes me.

2.

Maid, first you should consider well
How this world's love is selfish;
Dangers has it manifold;
False, fickle, frail and worthless.
Those gallants that were here so bold
Have passed like sudden tempests;
Under the Earth they now lie cold:
Like withered grass their end is.

3.

There is no man that's born or lives
Who in this world is steadfast;
For here he rues in sorrow oft
In peace he has no holding:
Unto his end he hastens quick
A little while you've lost him;
Sickness and death will drive him off
When he to live desires him.

4.

He's not so rich nor gentle born
But soon he must be fleeing;
In silver furs or scarlet robes,
In gold he'll find no heeding:
He's not so swift death to outrun,
Not one day is he sure of:
Thus is this world as you may see,
A shadow passing onward.

5.

Though he were a rich man
As our King Henry
Or were he fair as Absalom
Of all our Earth the envy;
Yet very soon his pride is gone
Then 'twill not buy a herring:
Maid, if thou seekest a true love,
There is a King worth loving.

6.

Sweet will it be to know
This Prince's goodly virtues:
Fair is He, in colour bright
Glad His cheer; He's courteous;
Winsome in His ways and true,
Great in heart and wisdom:
No cause there'll be to rue thy choice,
Should'st thou share His Kingdom.

7.

Of land He has the widest realm,
He's rich beyond all telling;
North and South and East and West,
They're all within His holding:
Henry, England's sovereign lord
Bows before His Kingship:
Maid, to thee He sends this word,
He would gain thy friendship.

8.

He bargains not for land nor folk,
For gay and rich apparel,
For these He has no need to bid
Who is so rich in chattels:
If thou wilt bring to Him thy love
And be His faithful lover,
Himself will give thee such fair robes
As know not King nor Kaiser.

9.

What sayest thou of such a house
As wrought the King of Israel
Who built with jasper, sapphire, gold
And stones that were a marvel:
Yet fairer far was his fair house
Beyond what I can tell thee:
And but thou love Him, maiden, thou
With this prize shall be wealthy.

10.

It stands upon a trusty hill
The which shall never fail it;
No miner can it undermine
Or underground assail it.
Within you'll find pain's remedy,
Bliss, joy and songful pleasure,
This dwelling, maiden, he'll give to thee
With all its joys together.

11.

There friend from friend turns not away,
And none their rights are robbed of
There neither hate nor wrath prevails,
Nor pride nor envy thought of:
But all shall with the Angels play:
There peace and concord hover;
Are they not, maiden, in a good way,
Who are Our Lord's true lovers?

12.

No man may look on Him
As He is in His might
And yet be reft of bliss
Whilst in Our Lord's dear sight:
His presence is all joy and glee
He's day without night's darkness:
O maid full bless'd, was ever man
Who could withstand His boldness?

13.

A treasure He has ope'd to thee
Better than gold or raiment;
He bids thee lock thy chamber fast
And keep a strict surveillance;
'Gainst thieves and robbers and bad men,
Thou must be swift and wakeful;
Sweeter than any flower art thou
When keeping well thy castle.

14.

It is a fire-begotten gem,
The finest 'neath high Heaven;
It healeth love wound: all: before
All others be it chosen:
Happy if anyone be found
Who guards it every moment;
For once 'tis lost, 'tis gone for aye;
'Tis lost beyond reclaimment.

15.

This precious gem of which I tell,
Virginity they name it;
Its price is great, for of all gems
The noblest I proclaim it:
It bringeth thee without a spot
Into bliss paradisal;
The while thou layest it 'neath thy robes
Thou art sweet as spice supernal.

16.

What sayest thou of such a stone
Surpassing all in virtue,
Both amethyst and calcydone,
And lectory and topaz,
And jasper, sapphire and sardone,
Smaragdus, beryl, goldstone,
Which 'mongst all other precious gems
Are great in price and wholesome.

17.

O maid, so as I've told thee
This gem within thy tower
Is brighter far a hundred fold
Than all these stones so fair:
It's fashioned e'en in Heaven's gold
It's full of love the finest:
Whoso' shall keep it fast, shall gleam
In Heaven with light divinest.

18.

Now since to choose a lover true
Thou takest me in counsel,
I'll ever do as thou dost bid
To find thee one most trothful:
And thou, high maid, will make thy choice,
Nor wrongfully pass by him.
'Twere foolishness to take the worse
When the better is for having.

19.

This rhyme I send thee maid, unsealed,
An open page to ponder;
I pray thee spread it out and learn
By rote its every stanza:
And all full courteous thou shalt teach
To other maids this rhyming;
For in good stead 'twill stand the maid
Who learns it to its ending.
Author of original: 
Thomas of Hales
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