Sir John Skelton (1463-1529)

Though ye suppose all jeopardies are past

Though ye suppose all jeopardies are past,
And all is done that ye looked for before,
Ware yet, I rede you, of Fortunes double cast,
For one false point she is wont to keep in store,
And under the fell oft festered is the sore:
That when ye think all danger for to pass,
Ware of the lizard lieth lurking in the grass.

Upon a Dead Man’s Head

Your ugly token
My mind hath broken
From worldly lust:
For I have discussed
We are but dust,
And die we must.

It is general
To be mortal:
I have well espied
No man may him hide
From Death hollow-eyed,
With sinews wyderéd,
With bonés shyderéd,
With his worm-eaten maw,
And his ghastly jaw
Gasping aside,
Naked of hide,
Neither flesh nor fell.

Then, by my counsel,
Look that ye spell
Well this gospel:
For whereso we dwell
Death will us quell
And with us mell.

For all our pampered paunches
There may no fraunches,
Nor worldly bliss,
Redeem us from this:
Our days be dated
To be checkmated
With draughtés of death
Stopping our breath:
Our eyen sinking,
Our bodies stinking,
Our gummés grinning,
Our soulés brinning.
To whom, then, shall we sue,
For to have rescue,
But to sweet Jesu
On us then for to rue?

O goodly Child
Of Mary mild,
Then be our shield!
That we be not exiled
To the dyne dale
Of bootless bale,
Nor to the lake
Of fiendés blake.

But grant us grace
To see thy Face,
And to purcháse
Thine heavenly place,
And thy paláce
Full of soláce
Above the sky
That is so high:
To behold and see
The Trinity!