To Queen Elizabeth
His golden locks time hath to silver turned;
O time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth ’gainst time and age hath ever spurned,
But spurned in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.
His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;
And, lovers’ sonnets turned to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers, which are age’s alms:
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His saint is sure of his unspotted heart.
And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
He’ll teach his swains this carol for a song:
‘Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well,
Curst be the souls that think her any wrong’.
Goddess, allow this aged man his right,
To be your beadsman now, that was your knight.