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

Degeneracy of the World

By William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585–1649)

WHAT hapless hap had I for to be born

In these unhappy times, and dying days

Of this now doting World, when Good decays,

Love’s quite extinct, and Virtue’s held a-scorn!

When such are only prized, by wretched ways,

Who with a golden fleece them can adorn;

When avarice and lust are counted praise,

And bravest minds live orphan-like forlorn!

Why was not I born in that golden age

When gold was not yet known? and those black arts

By which base worldlings vilely play their parts,

With horrid acts staining Earth’s stately stage?

To have been then, O Heaven! ’t had been my bliss;

But bless me now, and take me soon from this.