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On January the sixteenth day,
With many a sigh and sob did say,
Dame Natur, that excellent bride, did stand up me before,
And said to me, thou must provide
this life for to abhor:
Thou seest what things are gone before, experience teaches thee;
Yet do not miss to remember this, that one day thou must die.
Of all the creatures bearing life recall back to thy mind, Consider how they ebb and flow,
each thing in their own kind; Yet few of them have such a strain,
as God hath given to thee; Therefore this lesson keep in mind,remember man to die.
Man's course on earth I will report,
And to each month add five year, and so we will procede.
The first five years then of man's life compare to Januar;
In all that time but sturt and strife, he can but greet and roar,
So is the fields of flowers all bare,
by reason of the frost;
Kept in the ground both safe and sound, not one of them is lost.
So to years ten I shall speak then of Februar but lack;
The child is meek and weak of spir't, nothing can undertake :
So all the flow'rs, for lack of show'rs, no springing up can make,
Yet birds do sing and praise their king, and each one choose their mate.
Then in comes March, that noble arch, with wholesome spring and air, The child doth spring to years fifteen, with visage fine and fair;
So do the flow'rs with softening show'rs,
ay spring up as we see ;
Yet nevertheless remember this,
that one day we must die.
Then brave April doth sweetly smile,
to the age of twenty year; If he be kind and well inclin'd,
and brought up at the school, Then men may know if he foreshow a wise man or a fool.
Then cometh May, gallant and gay, when fragrant flow'rs do thrive, The child is then become a man,
of age twenty and five:
And for his life doth seek a wife, his life and years to spend; Christ from above send peace and love, and grace unto the end!
Then cometh June with pleasant tune, when fields with flow'rs are clad, And Phœbus bright is at his height, all creatures then are glad: Then he appears of thretty years, with courage bold and stout; His natur so makes him to go, of death he hath no doubt.
Then July comes with his hot climes, and constant in his kind,
The man doth thrive to thirty-five,
and sober grows in mind;
His children small do on him call,
and breed him sturt and strife &
Then August old, both stout and bold, when flow'rs do stoutly stand;
So man appears to forty years,
with wisdom and command; And doth provide his house to guide, children and familie;
Yet do not miss t' remember this, that one day thou must die.
September then comes with his train, and makes the flow'rs to fade; Then man belyve is forty-five,
grave, constant, wise, and staid. When he looks on, how youth is gone, and shall it no more see;
Then may he say, both night and day, have mercy, Lord, on me!
October's blast comes in with boast, and makes the flow'rs to fall; Then man appears to fifty years, old age doth on him call:
The almond tree doth flourish hie,
and pale grows man we see; Then it is time to use this line, remember, man, to die.
November air maketh fields bare of flow'rs, of grass, and corn; Then man arrives to fifty-five,
and sick both e'en and morn : Loins, legs, and thighs, without disease, makes him to sigh and say, Ah! Christ on high have mind on me, and learn me for to die!
December, fell baith sharp and snell,
makes flow'rs creep in the ground; Then man's threescore, both sick and sore, no soundness in him found.
His ears and e'en, and teeth of bane, all these now do him fail;
Then may he say, both night and day, that death shall him assail.
And if there be, thro' natur stout, some that live ten years more; Or if he creepeth up and down,
till he comes to fourscore; Yet all this time is but a line, no pleasure can he see: