Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
Complaint of the Duke of Buckingham
By Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset (1536–1608)
SO long as fortune would permit the same,
I liv’d in rule and riches with the best:
And pass’d my time in honour and in fame,
That of mishap no fear was in my breast:
But false fortune, when I suspected least,        5
Did turn the wheel, and with a doleful fall
Hath me bereft of honour, life, and all.
Lo, what avails in riches floods that flows?
Though she so smil’d, as all the world were his:
Even kings and kesars biden fortune’s throws,        10
And simple sort must bear it as it is.
Take heed by me that blith’d in baleful bliss:
My rule, my riches, royal blood and all,
When fortune frown’d, the feller made my fall.
For hard mishaps, that happens unto such        15
Whose wretched state erst never felt no change,
Agrieve them not in any part so much
As their distress, to whom it is so strange
That all their lives, nay, passed pleasures range,
Their sudden woe, that aye wield wealth at will,        20
Algates their hearts more piercingly must thrill.
For of my birth, my blood was of the best,
First born an earl, then duke by due descent:
To swing the sway in court among the rest,
Dame Fortune me her rule most largely lent,        25
And kind with courage so my corpse had blent,
That lo, on whom but me did she most smile?
And whom but me, lo, did she most beguile?
Now hast thou heard the whole of my unhap,
My chance, my change, the cause of all my care:        30
In wealth and woe, how fortune did me wrap,
With world at will, to win me to her snare:
Bid kings, bid kesars, bid all states beware,
And tell them this from me that tried it true:
Who reckless rules, right soon may hap to rue.        35

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