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A Collection of Emblemes

Ancient and Moderne: Quickened VVith Metricall Illvstrations, both Morall and Divine: And disposed into Lotteries, That Instruction, and Good Counsell, may bee furthered by an Honest and Pleasant Recreation. By George Wither

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Illvstr. XXII.

[My hopefull Friends at thrice five yeares and three]

When Vice and Vertue Youth shall wooe,
Tis hard to say, which may 'twill goe.

My hopefull Friends at thrice five yeares and three,
Without a Guide (into the World alone)
To seeke my Fortune, did adventure mee;
And, many hazards, I alighted on.
First, Englands greatest Rendevouz I sought,
Where Vice and Vertve at the highest sit;
And, thither, both a Minde and Bodie brought,
For neither of their Services unfit.
Both, woo'd my Youth: And, both perswaded so,
That (like the Young man in our Emblem here)
I stood, and cry'd, Ah! which way shall I goe?
To me so pleasing both their Offers were.
Vice, Pleasures best Contentments promist mee,
And what the wanton Flesh desires to have:
Quoth Vertve, I will Wisdome give to thee,
And those brave things, which noblest Mindes doe crave.
Serve me said Vice, and thou shalt soone acquire
All those Atchievements which my Service brings:
Serve me said Vertve, and Ile raise thee higher,
Then Vices can, and teach thee better things.
Whil'st thus they strove to gaine me, I espyde
Grim Death attending Vice; and, that her Face
Was but a painted Vizard, which did hide
The foul'st Deformity that ever was.
Lord, grant me grace for evermore to view
Her Vglinesse: And, that I viewing it,
Her Falsehoods and allurements may eschew;
And on faire Vertve my Affection set;
Her Beauties contemplate, her Love embrace,
And by her safe Direction, runne my Race.