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Poem by William Dunbar


To the King [Of benefice, sir, at everie feist]


Of benefice, sir, at everie feist,
Quha monyast hes makis maist requeist.
Get thai not all, thai think ye wrang thame.
Ay is the ovirword of the geist,
Giff thame the pelffe to pairt among thame.

Sum swelleis swan, sum swelleis duke,
And I stand fastand in a nuke
Quhill the effect of all thai fang thame.
Bot Lord! how petewouslie I luke
Quhone all the pelfe thai pairt amang thame.

Of sic hie feistis of sanctis in glorie,
Baithe of commoun and propir storie,
Quhair lairdis war patronis, oft I sang thame
Charitas, pro Dei amore;
And yit I gat na thing amang thame.

This blynd warld ever so payis his dett,
Riche befoir pure spraidis ay thair nett -
To fische al watiris dois belang thame.
Quha nathing hes can nathing gett,
Bot ay as syphir sett amang thame.

Swa thai the kirk have in thair cure,
Thai fors bot litill how it fure,
Nor of the buikis or bellis quha rang thame.
Thai pans not of the prochin pure,
Hed thai the pelfe to pairt amang thame.

So warryit is this warldis rent
That nane thairof can be content,
Of deathe quhill that the dragoun stang thame.
Quha maist hes than sall maist repent,
With largest compt to pairt amang thame.



William Dunbar


William Dunbar's other poems:
  1. The Tretis of the Twa Mariit Women and the Wedo
  2. Best to Be Blithe
  3. On the Resurrection of Christ [Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro]
  4. The Ballad of Kynd Kittock
  5. To the King [In hansill of this guid New Yeir]


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