John Skelton

(1460 - 1529 / Norfolk, England)

Vppon a Deedmans Hed


[Skelton Laureat vppon a deedmans hed that was sent to hym from an honorable Ientyll-woman for a token Deuysyd this gostly medytacyon in Englysh Couenable in sentence Comendable, Lamentable, Lacrymable, Profytable for the soule.]

Youre vgly tokyn.
My mynd hath brokyn.
From worldly lust.
For I haue dyscust.
We ar but dust.
And dy we must.

It is generall.
To be mortall.
I haue well espyde.
No man may hym hyde.
From deth holow-eyed.
With synnews wyderyd.
With bonys shyderyd.
With hys worme-etyn maw.
And hys gastly Iaw.
Gaspyng asyde.
Nakyd of hyde.
Neyther flesh nor fell.

Then by my councell.
Loke that ye spell.
Well thys gospell.
For wher-so we dwell.
Deth wyll vs quell.
And with vs mell.

For all oure pamperde paunchys.
Ther may no fraunchys.
Nor worldly blys.
Redeme vs from this.
Oure days be datyd.
To be chek-matyd.
With drawttys of deth.
Stoppyng oure breth.
Oure eyen synkyng.
Oure bodys stynkyng.
Oure gummys grynnyng.
Oure soulys brynnyng.
To whom then shall we sew.
For to haue rescew.
But to swete Iesu.
On vs then for to rew.

O goodly chyld.
Of Mary mylde.
Then be oure shylde.
That we be not exylyd.
To the dyne dale.
Of boteles bale. Nor to the lake.
Of fendys blake.

But graunt vs grace.
To se thy face.
And to purchace.
Thyne heuenly place.
And thy palace.
Full of solace.
Aboue the sky.
That is so hy.
Eternally.
To beholde and se.
The Trynyte.

Amen.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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