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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
A Sorrowful Fytte
By Alfred the Great (849–899)
 
From ‘Boethius’

From Works of Alfred the Great, Jubilee Edition (Oxford and Cambridge, 1852)

LO! I sting cheerily
  In my bright days,
But now all wearily
  Chaunt I my lays;
Sorrowing tearfully,        5
  Saddest of men,
Can I sing cheerfully,
  As I could then?
 
Many a verity
  In those glad times        10
Of my prosperity
  Taught I in rhymes;
Now from forgetfulness
  Wanders my tongue,
Wasting in fretfulness,        15
  Metres unsung.
 
Worldliness brought me here
  Foolishly blind,
Riches have wrought me here
  Sadness of mind;        20
When I rely on them,
  Lo! they depart,—
Bitterly, fie on them!
  Rend they my heart.
Why did your songs to me,        25
  World-loving men,
Say joy belongs to me
  Ever as then?
Why did ye lyingly
  Think such a thing,        30
Seeing how flyingly
  Wealth may take wing?
 
 
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