Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
IV. Sabbath: Worship: Creed
Of Hym that Togyder wyll Serve Two Maysters
Sebastian Brant (1457–1521)
 
From the German by Alexander Barclay

A FOLE he is and voyde of reason
  Whiche with one hounde tendyth to take
Two harys in one instant and season;
  Rightso is he that wolde undertake
  Hym to two lordes a servaunt to make;        5
For whether that he be lefe or lothe,
The one he shall displease, or els bothe.
 
A fole also he is withouten doute,
  And in his porpose sothly blyndyd sore,
Which doth entende labour or go aboute        10
  To serve god, and also his wretchyd store
  Of worldly ryches: for as I sayde before,
He that togyder will two maysters serve
Shall one displease and nat his love deserve.
 
For be that with one hounde wol take also        15
  Two harys togyther in one instant
For the moste parte doth the both two forgo,
  And if he one have: harde it is and skant
  And that blynd fole mad and ignorant
That draweth thre boltis atons 1 in one bowe        20
At one marke shall shote to[o] high or to[o] lowe.
 
He that his mynde settyth god truly to serve
  And his sayntes: this worlde settynge at nought
Shall for rewarde everlastynge joy deserve,
  But in this worlde he that settyth his thought        25
  All men to please, and in favour to be brought,
Must lout and lurke, flater, laude, and lye:
And cloke in knavys counseyll, though it fals be.
*        *        *        *        *
Wherfore I may prove by these examples playne
  That it is better more godly and plesant        30
To leve this mondayne casualte and payne
  And to thy maker one god to be servaunt.
  Which whyle thou lyvest shall nat let the want
That thou desyrest justly, for thy syrvyce,
And than after gyve the, the joyes of Paradyse.        35
 
Note 1. At once. [back]
 
 
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