The Green Knight's Farewell to Fancy


Fancy (quoth he) farewell, whose badge I long did bear,
And in my hat full harebrainedly, thy flowers did I wear:
Too late I find (at last), thy fruits are nothing worth,
Thy blossoms fall and fade full fast, though bravery bring them forth.
By thee I hoped always, in deep delights to dwell,
But since I find thy fickleness, Fancy (quoth he) farewell.

Thou mad'st me live in love, which wisdom bids me hate,
Thou bleared'st mine eyes and mad'st me think, that faith was mine by fate:
By thee those bitter sweets, did please my taste alway,
By thee I thought that love was light, and pain was but a play:
I thought that beauty's blaze, was meet to bear the bell,
And since I find myself deceived, Fancy (quoth he) farewell.

The gloss of gorgeous courts, by thee did please mine eye,
A stately sight me thought it was, to see the brave go by:
To see their feathers flaunt, to mark their strange device,
To lie along in ladies' laps, to lisp and make it nice:
To fawn and flatter both, I liked sometime well,
But since I see how vain it is, Fancy (quoth he) farewell.

When court had cast me off, I toiled at the plough
My fancy stood in strange conceits, to thrive I wot not how:
By mills, by making malt, by sheep and eke by swine,
By duck and drake, by pig and goose, by calves and keeping kine:
By feeding bullocks fat, when price at markets fell,
But since my swains eat up the gains, Fancy (quoth he) farewell.

In hunting of the deer, my fancy took delight,
All forests knew, my folly still, the moonshine was my light:
In frosts I felt no cold, a sunburnt hue was best,
I sweat and was in temper still, my watching seemed to rest:
What dangers deep I passed, it folly were to tell,
And since I sigh to think thereon, Fancy (quoth he) farewell.

A fancy fed me once, to write in verse and rhyme,
To wray my grief, to crave reward, to cover still my crime:
To frame a long discourse, on stirring of a straw,
To rumble rhyme in raff and ruff, yet all not worth a haw:
To hear it said there goeth, the man that writes so well,
But since I see, what poets be, Fancy (quoth he) farewell.

At music's sacred sound, my fancies eft begun,
In concords, discords, notes and clefs, in tunes of unison:
In Hierarchies and strains, in rests, in rule and space,
In monochords and moving modes, in Burdens underbass:
In descants and in chants, I strained many a yell,
But since musicians be so mad, Fancy (quoth he) farewell.

To plant strange country fruits, to sow such seeds likewise,
To dig and delve for new found roots, where old might well suffice:
To prune the water boughs, to pick the mossy trees,
(Oh how it pleased my fancy once) to kneel upon my knees,
To griff a pippin stock, when sap begins to swell:
But since the gains scarce quit the cost, Fancy (quoth he) farewell.

Fancy (quoth he) farewell, which made me follow drums,
Where powdered bullets serves for sauce, to every dish that comes,
Where treason lurks in trust, where Hope all hearts beguiles,
Where mischief lieth still in wait, when fortune friendly smiles:
Where one day's prison proves, that all such heavens are hell,
And such I feel the fruits thereof, Fancy (quoth he) farewell.

If reason rule my thoughts, and God vouchsafe me grace,
Then comfort of philosophy, shall make me change my race,
And fond I shall it find, that Fancy sets to show,
For weakly stands that building still, which lacketh grace by low:
But since I must accept, my fortunes as they fell,
I say God send me better speed, and Fancy now farewell.


George Gascoigne.