# 2.35: "The Lie"

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(1608)

Go, soul, the body’s guest,

Upon a thankless errand;

Fear not to touch the best;

The truth shall be thy warrant.

Go, since I needs must die,

And give the world the lie.

Say to the court, it glows

And shines like rotten wood;

Say to the church, it shows

What’s good, and doth no good.

Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates, they live

Acting by others’ action;

Not loved unless they give,

Not strong but by a faction.

Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition,

That manage the estate,

Their purpose is ambition,

Their practice only hate.

Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,

They beg for more by spending,

Who, in their greatest cost,

Seek nothing but commending.

Then give them all the lie.

Tell zeal it wants devotion;

Tell love it is but lust;

Tell time it is but motion;

Tell flesh it is but dust.

For thou must give the lie.

Tell age it daily wasteth;

Tell honor how it alters;

Tell beauty how she blasteth;

Tell favor how it falters.

Give every one the lie.

Tell wit how much it wrangles

In tickle points of niceness;

Tell wisdom she entangles

Herself in overwiseness.

Straight give them both the lie.

Tell physic of her boldness;

Tell skill it is pretension;

Tell charity of coldness;

Tell law it is contention.

So give them still the lie.

Tell fortune of her blindness;

Tell nature of decay;

Tell friendship of unkindness;

Tell justice of delay.

Then give them all the lie.

Tell arts they have no soundness,

But vary by esteeming;

Tell schools they want profoundness,

And stand too much on seeming.

Give arts and schools the lie.

Tell faith it’s fled the city;

Tell how the country erreth;

Tell manhood shakes off pity;

Tell virtue least preferreth.

Spare not to give the lie.

So when thou hast, as I

Commanded thee, done blabbing—

Although to give the lie

Deserves no less than stabbing—

Stab at thee he that will,

No stab the soul can kill.

This page titled 2.35: "The Lie" is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Bonnie J. Robinson & Laura Getty (University of North Georgia Press) .