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Robert Henryson (Роберт Хенрисон)

The Want of Wyse Men

Me mervellis of this grete confusion;
I wald sum clerk of connyng walde declerde,
Quhat gerris this warld be turnyt upsyd doun.
Thare is na faithfull fastnes founde in erd;
Now are noucht thre may traistly trow the ferde;
Welth is away, and wit is worthin wrynkis;
Now sele is sorow this is a wofull werde,
Sen want of wyse men makis fulis to sit on binkis.
That tyme quhen levit the king Saturnus,
For gudely gouvernance this warld was goldin cald;
For untreuth we wate noucht quhare to it turnis;
The tyme that Octaviane, the monarch, coud hald,
Our all was pes, wele set as hertis wald:
Than regnyt reule, and resone held his rynkis;
Now lakkis prudence, nobilitee is thralde,
Sen want of wyse men makis fulis to sitt on bynkis.
Arestotill for his moralitee,
Austyn, or Ambrose, for dyvine scripture,
Quha can placebo, and noucht half dirige,
That practik for to pike and pill the pure,
He sall cum in, and thay stand at the dure;
For warldly wyn sik walkis, quhen wysar wynkis;
Wit takis na worschip, sik is the aventure,
Sen want of wysemen makis fulis to sitt on binkis.
Now, but defense, rycht lyis all desolate,
Rycht, na resone under na rufe has rest;
Youth his but raddour, and age is obystynate,
Mycht but mercy, the pore ar all opprest.
Lerit folk suld tech the peple of the best,
Thouch lare be lytil, fer lesse in tham sinkis:
It may noucht be this warld ay thus suld lest,
That want of wyse men makis fulis sitt on binkis.
For now is exilde all ald noble corage,
Lautee, lufe, and liberalitee;
Now is stabilitee fundyn in na stage,
Nor degest connsele wyth sad maturitee;
Peas is away, all in perplexitee;
Prudence and policy ar banyst our al brinkis:
This warld is uer, sa may it callit be,
That want of wisemen makis fulis sitt on bynkis.
Quhare is the balance of just and equitee?
Nouthir meryt is preisit, na punyst is trespas;
All ledis lyvis lawles at libertee,
Noucht reulit be reson, mare than ox or asse;
Gude faith is flemyt, worthin fraellar than glas;
Trew lufe is loren, and lautee haldis no lynkis;
Sik gouvernance I call noucht worth a fasse,
Sen want of wise men makis fulis sitt on binkis.
Now wrang hes warrane, and law is bot wilfulness;
Quha hes the war is worthin on him all the wyte,
For trewth is tressoun, and faith is fals fekilness;
Gylle is now gyd, and vane lust is also delyte;
Kirk is contempnit, thay compt nocht cursing a myte;
Grit God is grevit, that me rycht soir forthinkis:
The caus of this ony man may sone wit,
That want of wysemen garis fulis sit on binkis.
Lue hes tane leif, and wirschip hes no udir wane;
With passing poverty pryd is importable;
Vyce is bot vertew, wit is with will soir ourgane;
As lairdis so laddis, daly chengeable;
But ryme or ressone all is bot heble hable;
Sic sturtfull stering in to Godis neiss it stinkis;
Bot he haif rew, all is unremedable,
For want of wise men makis fulis sit on binkis.
O lord of lordis, God and gouvernour,
Makar and movar, bath of mare and lesse,
Quhais power, wisedome, and honoure,
Is infynite, sal be, and ewir wes,
As in the principall mencioun of the messe,
All thir sayd thingis reforme as thou best thinkis;
Quhilk ar degradit, for pure pitee redresse,
Sen want of wise [men] makis [fulis] sit in binkis.

Robert Henryson's other poems:
  1. Against Hasty Credence
  2. The Ressoning betwix Aige and Yowth
  3. The Testament of Cressida
  4. The Fox, the Wolf, and the Cadger
  5. The Sheep and the Dog

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