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1An old man through a town did often pass;
2With him, a pretty
stripling1and an ass.
3The man did ride; the boy was
As fit it was, he wait upon his master3.
5At this, the people laughéd out aloud,
6Saying the man was merciless or proud
7To let the pretty child go sweating by,
8Whilst he rode, ambling in his majesty.
The boy rode next4; the man did trudge afoot:
10But then, the people did so laugh and shout
11Because the man did favor so the lad
12To go afoot whilst he rode on his
13Next time this poor man through the town did pass,
14The man and boy got both upon the ass;
15But then the people bade him
light, for shame6;
spoil7the ass, or make him sick, or lame.
17Next time, beside the ass they both did walk;
18But then they were the town and county’s talk.
19The people laughed and
made the welkin ring8;
20Children their folly up and down did sing.
21Once more the man resolved the road to pass,
22And then the youth and he did
23At which the people did so laugh and roar
24That the poor man would ne’er more
Hydrian monstrosity11to please,
26But sadly flung his ass into the seas.
27By this you see they do themselves delude
28That think to please the
Andronicus13did make this story good;
30Even he that shed his royal sovereign’s blood,
Sejanus14, so by pop’lar breath up borne,
Briareus15was in pieces torn.
some alive16the Hydra’s love will rue
to them they give to these their due18.
35For certainly ’twill one day come to pass
36They’ll have the death and burial of