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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

Song: ‘Virtue’s branches wither, Virtue pines’

Thomas Dekker (c. 1570–1632)

VIRTUE’S branches wither, Virtue pines,

O pity, pity, and alack the time;

Vice doth flourish, Vice in glory shines,

Her gilded boughs above the cedar climb.

Vice hath golden cheeks, O pity, pity,

She in every land doth monarchize;

Virtue is exiled from every city,

Virtue is a fool, Vice only wise.

O pity, pity, Virtue weeping dies,

Vice laughs to see her faint, alack the time.

This sinks, with painted wings the other flies:

Alack that best should fall, and bad should climb.

O pity, pity, pity, mourn, not sing,

Vice doth flourish, Vice in glory shines,

Vice is a saint, Virtue an underling;

Virtue’s branches wither, Virtue pines.