Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt?
Were beeth they biforen us weren,
Houndes ledden and hawkes beren,
And hadden feeld and wode?
The riche ladies in hir bowr,
That wereden gold in hir tressour,
With hir brighte rode,
Eten and drunken, and maden hem glad;
Hir lif was al with gamen ylad,
Men kneeleden hem biforen;
They beren hem wel swithe hye.
And in a twinkling of an ye
Hir soules weren forloren.
Where is that laughing and that song,
That trailing and that proude gong,
Tho hawkes and tho houndes?
Al that joye is went away,
That wele is comen to weylaway,
To manye harde stoundes.
Here paradis hy nomen here,
And now they lien in helle ifere;
The fuir hit brennes evere:
Long is “ah!” and long is “oh!”
Long is “wy!” and long is “wo!”
Thennes ne cometh they nevere.
Drey here, man, thenne, if thou wilt,
A litel pine that me thee bit;
Withdraw thine eyses ofte.
They thy pine be unrede,
And thou thenke on thy mede,
It shall thee thinken softe.
If that fend, that foule thing,
Thorou wikke roun, thorou fals egging,
Nethere thee haveth icast, down
Up, and be good chaunpioun!
Stond, ne fall namore adoun
For a litel blast.
Thou tak the rode to thy staf,
And thenk on him that thereonne gaf
His lif that wes so lef.
He hit gaf for thee; thou yelde it him;
Agein his fo that staf thou nim,
And wrek him of that thef.
Of righte bileve thou nim that sheld,
The whiles that thou best in that feld,
Thin hond to strengthen fonde,
And kep thy fo with staves ord,
And do that traitre seyen that word.
Biget that murie londe.
Thereinne is day withouten night,
Withouten ende strengthe and might,
And wreche of everich fo;
Mid God himselven eche lif,
And pes and rest withoute strif,
Wele withouten wo.
Mayden moder, hevene quene,
Thou might and const and owest to bene
Oure sheld agein the fende:
Help us sunne for to flen,
That we moten they sone iseen,
In joye withouten ende.