Old Fortunatus (?1598)

by Thomas Dekker


VIRTUE'S branches wither, Virtue pines,
    O pity, pity, and alack the time ;
Vice doth flourish, Vice in glory shines,
    Her gilded boughs above the cedar climb.

Vice hath golden cheeks, O pity, pity,
    She in every land doth monarchize ;
Virtue is exiled from every city,
    Virtue is a fool, Vice only wise.

O pity, pity, Virtue weeping dies,
    Vice laughs to see her faint, alack the time.
This sinks, with painted wings the other flies :
    Alack that best should fall, and bad should climb.

O pity, pity, pity, mourn, not sing,
    Vice doth flourish, Vice in glory shines,
Vice is a saint, Virtue an underling ;
    Virtue's branches wither, Virtue pines.

Schelling, Felix E., Ed. A Book of Elizabethan Lyrics.
Boston: Ginn and Company, 1895. 44-45.


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