Goe, soule, the bodies guest,
Upon a thanklesse arrant ;
Feare not to touche the best,
The truth shall be thy warrant :
Goe, since I needs must dye,
And give the world the lye.
Goe tell the court, it glowes
And shines like rotten wood ;
Goe tell the church it showes
What’s good, and doth no good :
If church and court reply,
Then give them both the lye.
Tell potentates they live
Acting by others actions :
Not lov’d unlesse they give,
Not strong but by their factious :
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lye.
Tell men of high condition,
That rule affairs of state,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practise only hate ;
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lye.
Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who in their greatest cost
Seek nothing but commending :
And if they make reply,
Spare not to give the lye.
Tell zcale, it lacks devotion ;
Tell love, it is but lust ;
Tell time, it is but motion ;
Tell flesh, it is but dust ;
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lye.
Tell age, it daily wasteth ;
Tell honour, how it alters ;
Tell beauty, how she blasteth ;
Tell favour, how she falters ;
And as they shall reply,
Give each of them the lye.
Tell wit, how much it wrangles
In tickle points of nicenesse ;
Tell wisedome, she entangles
Herselfe in over-wisenesse :
And if they do reply,
Straight give them both the lye.
Tell physickc of her boldncsse ;
Tell skill, it is pretension ;
Tell charity of coldness ;
Tell law, it is contention ;
And as they yield reply,
So give them still the lye.
Tell fortune of her blindnesse ;
Tell nature of decay ;
Tell friendship of unkindnesse ;
Tell justice of delay :
And if they dare reply,
Then give them all the lye.
Tell arts, they have no soundnesse
But vary by esteeming ;
Tell schooles they want profoundnesse,
And stand too much on seeming :
If arts and schooles reply,
Give arts and schooles the lye.
Tell faith, it ’s fled the citic ;
Tell how the countrey erreth ;
Tell, manhood shakes off pitic ;
Tell, vertue least preferreth ;
And, if the ? doe reply,
Sparc not to give the lye.
So, when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing,
Athough to give the lye
Deserves no less than stabbing,
Yet stab at thee who will,
No stab the soule can kill.