Complaint of Temperance

by Robert Greene

Robert Greene

Then Temperance, with bridle in her hand,
Did mildly look upon this lifeless lord,
And like to weeping Niobe did stand:
Her sorrows and her tears did well accord;
Their diapason was in self-same cord.
Here lies the man, quoth she, that breath'd out this,
" To shun fond pleasures is the sweetest bliss."

No choice delight could draw his eyes awry'
He was not bent to pleasure's fond conceits;
Inveigling pride, nor world's sweet vanity,
Love's luring follies with their strange deceits,
Could wrap this lord within their baleful slights:
But he, despising all, said " man was grass,
His date a span, et omnia vanitas ".
Temperate he was, and temper'd all his deeds:
He bridled those affects that might offend;
He gave his will no more the reins than needs;
He measur'd pleasures ever by the end:
His thoughts on virtue's censures did depend:
What booteth pleasures that so quickly pass,
When such delights are brittle like to glass?

First pride of life, that subtle branch of sin,
And then the lusting humor of the eyes,
And base concupiscence which plies her gin;
These Sirens that do worldlings still entice,
Could not allure his mind to think of vice;
For he said still " Pleasure's delight it is
That holdeth man from heaven's delightful bliss".

Temperate he was in every deep extreme,
And could well bridle his affects with reason,
What I have lost in losing him then deem;
Base Death, that took away a man so geason,
That measur'd every thought by time and season!
At this her sighs and sorrows were so sore,
And so she wept that she could speak no more.

Last updated September 28, 2017