Lusty Youth should us ensue

Original Text: 
British Library Add. MS 31922, fols. 94v-97 (attributed to Henry VIII); and John Stevens, Music & Poetry in the Early Tudor Court (London: Methuen, 1961): 416-17.
2His merry heart shall sure all rue.
3For whatsoever they do him tell,
4It is not for him, we know it well.
5For they would have him his Liberty refrain
6And all merry company for to disdain,
7But I will not so whatsoever they say,
8But follow his mind in all that we may.
10But all disdainers for to refuse?
13For in them consisteth great honour,
14Though that disdainers would therein put error,
17With Good Order, Counsel, and Equity,
18Good Lord, grant us our mansion to be!
19For without their good guidance
20Youth should fall in great mischance.
21For Youth is frail and prompt to do,
22As well vices as virtues to ensue.
23Wherefore by these he must be guided
24And Virtue's pastance must be therein used.
25Now unto God this prayer we make,
26That this rude play may well be take,
27And that we may our faults amend,


1] ensue: emulate. This poem is dramatic (see the allusion to a "play" at line 26). The first stanza appears to be spoken by members of an anti-Youth camp. The next stanza may be spoken by Youth himself.
The meaning of the first two lines may be: "Should we follow lusty Youth, everyone may regret his merry heart." "They" (3, 5) are straitlaced, serious-minded, and old-fashioned persons, "he" is a Youth intent on enjoying life, and "we" (perhaps a royal "I") prefers him. Back to Line
9] use: employ. Back to Line
11] assurance: warrant. Back to Line
12] pastance: pastime. Back to Line
15] sue: petition. Back to Line
16] All only: exclusively (for the purpose of ...) Back to Line
28] An: And. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.