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This boke, called the Pastime of Pleasure, was made and
compyled by Stephen Hawes, one of the gromes of the most
honorable chambre of our soverayne lorde Kynge Henry the
Seventh, the xxi. yere of his most noble reyne; chapitred and
marked after the table here before sette.



RYGHT myghty prynce and redoubted soverayne,
Saylinge forth well in the shyppe of grace,
Over the waves of this lyfe uncertayne
Ryght towarde heven to have dwellyng place,
Grace dothe you guyde in every doubtfull cace.
Your governaunce dothe evermore eschewe
The synne of slouthe, enemy to vertewe.

Grace stereth well, the grace of God is grete,
Whyche you hath brought to your ryall se,
And in your ryght it hath you surely sette
Above us all to have the soverayntie;
Whose worthy power and regall dygnite,
All our rancour and our debate gan ceace,

Hath to us brought bothe welthe, reste and peace.

Frome whome descendeth by the ryghtfull lyne
Noble prynce Henry, to succede the crowne;
That in his youth doth so clerely shyne,
In every vertue castinge the vyce adowne.
He shall of fame attaine the hye renowne;
No doubte but grace shal him well enclose,
Whiche by true right sprange of the reed rose.


Your noble grace and excellent highnes
For to accepte I beseche right humbly
Thys lytle boke, opprest wyth rudenes,
Without rethorycke or coloure crafty;
Nothinge I am experte in poetry,

As the monke of Bury, floure of eloquence,
Whiche was in the time of great excellence

Of your predecessour, the v. kyng Henry,
Unto whose grace he did present
Ryght famous bokes of parfit memory,
Of hys faynyng with termes eloquent;
Whose fatall fictions are yet permanent,
Grounded on reason, with cloudy fygures
He cloked the trouth of all his scryptures.

The lyght of trouth I lacke cunnying to cloke,
To drawe a curtayne I dare not to presume,
Nor hyde my matter with a misty smoke,
My rudenes cunnying doth so sore consume:
Yet as I may I shall blowe out a fume
To hyde my mynde underneth a fable,

By covert coloure well and probable.

Besechying your grace to pardon myne ignoraunce,
Whiche this fayned fable, to eschue idlenes,
Have so compyled nowe without doubtance,
For to present to your hye worthynes,
To folowe the trace and all the perfitenes
Of my maister Lydgate with due exercise,
Suche fayned tales I do fynde and devyse.

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