The Penitent Palmer's Ode

by Robert Greene

Robert Greene

Whilom in the winter's rage

A palmer old and full of age

Sat and thought upon his youth,

With eyes, tears, and heart's ruth,

Being all with cares yblent,

When he thought on years mis-spent.

When his follies came to mind,

How fond love had made him blind,

And wrapped him in a field of woes,

Shadowed with pleasure's shows,

Then he sighed and said: ‘Alas!

Man is sin, and flesh is grass.

I thought my mistress' hairs were gold,

And in her locks my heart I fold;

Her amber tresses were the sight

That wrapped me in vain delight;

Her ivory front, her pretty chin,

Were stales that drew me on to sin;

Her starry looks, her crystal eyes,

Brighter than the sun's arise,

Sparkling pleasing flames of fire,

Yoked my thoughts and my desire,

That I 'gan cry ere I blin,

O! her eyes are paths to sin.

Her face was fair, her breath was sweet,

All her looks for love was meet:

But love is folly, this I know,

And beauty fadeth like to snow.

O! why should man delight in pride,

Whose blossom like a dew doth glide?

When these supposes touched my thought,

That world was vain, and beauty nought,

I 'gan sigh and say, alas!

Man is sin, and flesh is grass.’

Last updated September 24, 2017