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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume II. The End of the Middle Ages.

IX. Stephen Hawes

§ 2. The Conversion of Swearers

The Conversion of Swearers contains an exhortation from Christ to princes and lords to cease swearing by His blood, wounds, head and heart. It is, in short, a versified sermon. The metre is the seven-line Chaucerian stanza, except a fantastic passage in form as follows:

  • Se
  • Ye
  • Be
  • Kind,
  • Again
  • My payne
  • Reteyne
  • In Mynde;
  • and so on the metre goes, increasing to lines of six syllables and decreasing again to words of one syllable. It is an early example of shaped verses, which, in later days, take the form of Pan’s pipes, wings, crosses, altars, pyramids, gridirons and frying-pans, and are to be found even in the days of George Herbert’s Temple.