Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By A. W.


Soul.  AY 1 me, poor soul, whom bound in sinful chains
    This wretched body keeps against my will!
Body.  Ay me, poor body, whom for all my pains
    This froward soul causeless condemneth still.
Soul.  Causeless? whenas thou striv’st to sin each day!        5
Body.  Causeless! whenas I strive thee to obey!
Soul.  Thou art the means by which I fall to sin.
Body.  Thou art the cause that set’st this means a-work.
Soul.  No part of thee that hath not faulty been.
Body.  I show the poison that in thee doth lurk.        10
Soul.  I shall be pure whenso I part from thee.
Body.  So were I now but that thou stainest me.
Note 1. A. W.’s verses were contributed to Davison’s “Poetical Rhapsody” (1602). For the discussion as to his identity, the reader is referred to Mr Bullen’s preface to his edition of the “Rhapsody” (Bell, 1870). It might seem a pity to see in his initials, as some suggest, but another form of the too familiar anonymous writer; but the mystery has not otherwise been solved. [back]