My gentil rederes, yif it be nat oon thynge, it is an oothir. For a while, ich was bisy with werke building an "fortified compound" for Kynge Richard. It semeth parliament was merciles this yeere. That did ete up much of my tyme ovir the seson of Yule.
And now of late, ich haue been soore depressid to heere of the deeth of myn freend Sir William, yclept Ulrich of Liechtenstein for a certayn tyme, with whom ich did travel in Fraunce about XXXX poundes ago. Ich haue sat in my room going thurgh oold joustinge programes and thinkinge of thos jours d'alcyone.
Thogh my pen is but a sely thing, bettir fit for ditees and smal jokes and puns, yet ich koud nat but trye to write sum few lynes of rym for the memorie of my good freend, the which ich share heere. Ich knowe that newes of his deeth hath long ben known, and many wyse folk have seyd thinges of hym, yet tak this rym-doggerel for my part.
A COMPLEYNTE ON THE DETH OF SIR WILLIAM THATCHER, SUMTYME YCLEPED ULRICH VON LIECHTENSTEIN
Yif al the woe and teeres and hevinesse
And eek the sorwe, compleynte and wamentynge
That man hath heard in thes yeeres of distresse
Togedir were y-put, too light a thynge
It sholde be for this yonge knightes mournynge.
Withouten hym this world can no wey plese,
Fulfild it is of shadwe and disese.
In sorwe and teeres and eek in hevinesse
Stand Roland, Wat, and Kate, his compaigyne,
(And eek mynself, the forger of noblesse):
Sir Deeth wyth falshede and wyth sorcerye
Hath slayn thys knight who never feered to dye,
Of honor nat of lyf took Ulrich kepe.
A see of teeres nys nat ynogh to wepe.
Proud Deth, yower trophie is our hevinesse,
Your heraud may ful loude yel and crie,
For thou hast slayn the flour of hardinesse:
Sir Ulrich knewe the herte of chivalrie
And evir daunce he coud to melodye;
A silent yere he spent oones in a toun
In Itaylye to understonde a roun.
This feble world fulfild of hevinesse
Offreth us nat but wo, o welaway!
No thyng it hath may us give restfulnesse
For yisterday was noblere and moore gay
Than thys clipt peni that we hold today.
On Ulrich spende yower XII last silver teeres
Syn now departid aren hys golden yeeres.
He chaungid hys sterres, ros out of lowlinesse,
Bicam the man that fyrst did make me thinke
Our dedes nat our birth bring gentilesse –
And when ich was depe in the dice and drinke
He bought my pants ayein, it is no nay
May hevenes blisse repay that charité!
For blessed on erthe are al who had the chaunce
To walk the gardyn of his turbulaunce.