Rueful Complaint of the Public Weal to England, A

Anon ["I.M."]

STC 5611.4
Ringler 5611.4 and TP 82. Signature nos. wanting. UMI microfilm reel 1749

A ruful complaynt of the publyke weale to Englande
London: T. Raynald,c. 1550.

Composition Date: c. 1550 [STC].

sig: [A1]
¶A Ruful complaynt of the publyke weale to Englande.

sig: [A1v]

Publyke_weale speaketh

AH moste noble realme of England
Thy state I sore lamente
Now knowing how thou dost stand
It makes my hart dolente

5 Thou hast ben the worthyest lande
That euer god / hath wrought
Thou art not so I vnderstande
Into myserye arte thou brought

The cronacles of the / doth saye
10 Whych knew the in thy youthe
That of thy welth thou dost decaye
And hath of the moche ruthe

In thy fyrst age / it was not so
Thy force then was well knowen
15 For thy strong arme gaue suche a bloo
To the worlde thy fayme was blowen

Now be thy people wythouten harte
To se the in thys case
Beynge so weake / to take thy parte
20 Straungers / to come alas

Let me se / what is the cause
That thou art in thys dystresse
sig: [A2]
Was euer realme / had better lawes
Or people in more Quietenes

25 Haste not thou / the godlyest kynge
That euer ruled publyke weale
The worthiest gouernour in euery-thynge
And the most mercyfullyst counsayle

Is not goddes worde devulgated
30 And in all partes now knowen
That al people / may be learned
To lyue and know theyr owne

That therby loue and amytye
May dwell in euery place
35 Iustyce peace and equytie
Shulde all mens hart enbrace

Why then art thou altered
And fallen from thyne estate
Declare me howe thou art decayed
40 And brought vnto thys rate.

England aunswereth.

Alas I am so sore oppreste
Wyth sorowe griefe and payne
sig: [A2v]
That wythout teares can be expreste
The wronge whych I sustayne

45 What natural wold not wepe
To se my carefull state
My people they be turned to s[h]epe shepe] slepe 1550
And my townes they be desolate

My groundes they be imparked
50 Corne-feldes for beastes foode
Poore by the ryche / are so pynched
That of my ground / they take no good.

For all that / is lytle ynoughe
For onely the ryche mans nead
55 To make pasture / awaye wyth ploughe
That they maye cattel fead

And commens of auncient tyme
They make [Seu]erall landes Seuerall] Generall 1550
And close it in / wyth dyche and lyne
60 That poore men wringe theyr handes

Hauyng not to feade hys kowe
Hys horse nether hys shepe
Nor no ground / to reare hys sowe
Or other cattell vpon to kepe

sig: [A3]
65 Thus the multitude be decayed
The stronge deuoure the weake
The poore beynge thys dysmayed
Dare not for theyr own speake

My welth is turned / to wretchednes
70 Plenteth is pynched to spare
My strength is turned to weakenes
My cytyes be voyde and bare.

My townes and castels in Ruyne
My feldes enclosed they be
75 The plowes now they sowe so thynne
That ruth it is for to see

The ryche casteth out theyr nette
And taketh all that comes
The neady walke in the strete
80 And begge about for cromes.

Suche offices / as heretofore
Apparteyned / to the yomans ryght
Be taken awaye they get no more
And geuen to Lorde or knyght

85 Marchauntes / they become lordes
And Lordes vseth / marchaundyse
sig: [A3v]
A lorde a sheppard / nothyng accordes
Or a graysyer / that is new gyse

Ryche men lyue by vserye
90 Craftes-men / by dysceate
And vyttelers / by subtiltye
Poore mens goodes to get

What thyng is it / that can fall
But it commeth vnto theyr handes
95 They be so gready / they katch vp all
Whether it be house or landes

And all my other comodities
As leather / wolle / and leade
Tallow / tyn / and clothes
100 Be from the commons fleade

And caryed into straunge landes
Other regyons for to enryche
So that my people haue Idle handes
And for neade fall in the dyche.

105 For euery man seaketh his owne
And for others doth not care
That he may lyue in welth alone
Yea though other be neuer so bare

sig: [A4]
Thus is the multytude
110 Of theyr lyuynges destytute
And so decayeth my fortytude
Whych made my enemyes mewte

Al_though goddes word be exhybyt
Abrode in all my lande
115 Yet fewe or none applye ther wytte
Gods wyll to vnderstande

But followeth theyr olde entent
And scrache vp all they can
Pluckynge from the innocent
120 To make theym a ryche man

Thus pouertie is vsed god wote
That petye it is to beholde
They byte on hym lyke the knate
Tyll he be naked for colde

125 Now haue I tolde the / the cause why
That my welth is so sore worne
That yf ther be / found no remedy
They shall rew it / not yet borne.

¶Two fautes escaped by the prynter, where ye rede slepe, rede shepe, and where ye rede general, rede seueral

sig: [A4v]

Publyke_weale answereth

Wold it not make / any hart breake
130 Thys to here of Englandes fall
Some good man / for the commons speake
That ryche men marre not all.

God saue Edward our kyng
And hys counsellers so worthye
135 And send theym grace / to help thys thinge
For the weale of the communaltye
¶Imprinted at London By Thomas_Raynald.