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Short poem

George Gascoigne (ca. 1534-1577)

Fie, Pleasure, Fie!

              1Fie pleasure, fie! thou cloyest me with delight,
              2Thou fill'st my mouth with sweetmeats overmuch;
              3I wallow still in joy both day and night:
              4I deem, I dream, I do, I taste, I touch,
              5No thing but all that smells of perfect bliss;
              6Fie pleasure, fie! I cannot like of this.

              7  To taste (sometimes) a bait of bitter gall,
              8To drink a draught of soür ale (some season)
              9To eat brown bread with homely hands in hall,
            10Doth much increase men's appetites, by reason,
            11And makes the sweet more sugar'd that ensues,
            12Since minds of men do still seek after news.

            13  The pamper'd horse is seldom seen in breath,
            14Whose manger makes his grace (oftimes) to melt;
            15The crammed fowl comes quickly to his death;
            16Such colds they catch in hottest haps that swelt;
            17And I (much like) in pleasure scawled still,
            18Do fear to starve although I feed my fill.

            19  It might suffice that Love hath built his bower
            20Between my lady's lively shining eyes;
            21It were enough that beauty's fading flower
            22Grows ever fresh with her in heavenly wise;
            23It had been well that she were fair of face,
            24And yet not rob all other dames of grace.

            25  To muse in mind, how wise, how fair, how good,
            26How brave, how frank, how courteous, and how true
            27My lady is, doth but inflame my blood
            28With humours such as bid my health adieu;
            29Since hap always when it is clomb on high,
            30Doth fall full low, though erst it reach'd the sky.

            31  Lo, pleasure, lo! lo thus I lead a life
            32That laughs for joy, and trembleth oft for dread;
            33Thy pangs are such as call for change's knife
            34To cut the twist, or else to stretch the thread,
            35Which holds yfeer the bundle of my bliss:
            36Fie, pleasure, fie! I dare not trust to this.


1] Part of a longer poem entitled The delectable history of sundry adventures passed by Dan Bartholomew of Bathe.

7] bait: drink.

16] haps: covering, clothes.
swelt: faint, swoon.

17] scawled: scalled, suffering from, scaly or scabby disease of the skin, presumably from over-eating.

29] hap: Fortune.

35] yfeer: together.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: George Gascoigne, Posies (1575); facs. edn. (Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1979). PR 2277 P6 1979 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1575
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.100; RPO 1998-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/28

Rhyme: abab

Other poems by George Gascoigne