Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
The Arraignment of a Lover
By George Gascoigne (d. 1577)
 
AT Beauty’s bar as I did stand,
When false Suspect accused me,
George (quoth the Judge), hold up thy hand,
Thou art arraigned of flattery:
Tell therefore how thou wilt be tried:        5
Whose judgement here wilt thou abide?
 
My Lord (quoth I) this Lady here,
Whom I esteem above the rest,
Doth know my guilt if any were:
Wherefore her doom shall please me best.        10
Let her be Judge and Juror both,
To try me guiltless by mine oath.
 
Quoth Beauty, no, it fitteth not,
A prince herself to judge the cause:
Will is our Justice well you wot,        15
Appointed to discuss our laws:
If you will guiltless seem to go,
God and your country quit you so.
 
Then Craft the crier call’d a quest,
Of whom was Falsehood foremost fere,        20
A pack of pickthanks were the rest,
Which came false witness for to bear,
The jury such, the judge unjust,
Sentence was said I should be trussed.
 
Jealous the jailer bound me fast,        25
To hear the verdict of the bill,
George (quoth the Judge) now thou art cast,
Thou must go hence to Heavy Hill,
And there be hanged all but the head,
God rest thy soul when thou art dead.        30
 
Down fell I then upon my knee,
All flat before Dame Beauty’s face,
And cried Good Lady pardon me,
Which here appeal unto your grace,
You know if I have been untrue,        35
It was in too much praising you.
 
And though this Judge do make such haste,
To shed with shame my guiltless blood:
Yet let your pity first be placed,
To save the man that meant you good,        40
So shall you show yourself a Queen,
And I may be your servant seen.
 
(Quoth Beauty) well: because I guess,
What thou dost mean henceforth to be,
Although thy faults deserve no less,        45
Than Justice here hath judged thee,
Wilt thou be bound to stint all strife
And be true prisoner all thy life?
 
Yea madam (quoth I) that I shall,
Lo Faith and Truth my sureties:        50
Why then (quoth she) come when I call,
I ask no better warrantise.
Thus am I Beauty’s bounden thrall,
At her command when she doth call.
 
 
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