Home  »  library  »  poem  »  A Sorrowful Fytte

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

A Sorrowful Fytte

By Alfred the Great (849–899)

From ‘Boethius’

From Works of Alfred the Great, Jubilee Edition (Oxford and Cambridge, 1852)

LO! I sting cheerily

In my bright days,

But now all wearily

Chaunt I my lays;

Sorrowing tearfully,

Saddest of men,

Can I sing cheerfully,

As I could then?

Many a verity

In those glad times

Of my prosperity

Taught I in rhymes;

Now from forgetfulness

Wanders my tongue,

Wasting in fretfulness,

Metres unsung.

Worldliness brought me here

Foolishly blind,

Riches have wrought me here

Sadness of mind;

When I rely on them,

Lo! they depart,—

Bitterly, fie on them!

Rend they my heart.

Why did your songs to me,

World-loving men,

Say joy belongs to me

Ever as then?

Why did ye lyingly

Think such a thing,

Seeing how flyingly

Wealth may take wing?