How would we mock the burden bearing mule
If he would brag he were a horse’s son,
To press his pride (might nothing else him rule,)
His boast to prove, no more but bid him run.
40The horse for swiftness hath his glory won,
To which the mule could never the more aspire
Though he should prove that Pegas was his sire.
Each man may crake of that which is his own,
Our parents’ virtues theirs are and not ours.
45Who therefore will of noble kind be known
Ought shine in virtue like his ancestors.
Gentry consisteth not in lands and towers:
He is a churl though all the world be his,
Yea Arthur’s heir if that he live amiss.
50For virtuous life doth make a gentleman
Of her possessor, all be he poor as Job,
Yea though no name of elders show he can.
For proof take Merlin fathered by a hob.
But who so settles his mind to spoil and rob,
55Although he come by due descent from Brute,
He is a churl, ungentle, vile, and brute.
Well thus did I for want of better wit,
Because my parents noughtly brought me up,
For gentle men (they said) were nought so fit
60As to attaste by bold attempts the cup
Of conquest's wine, whereof I thought to sup,
And therefore bent my self to rob and rive,
And whom I could of lands and goods deprive.
For Henry the fourth did then usurp the crown,
65Despoiled the king, with Mortimer the heir,
For which his subjects sought to put him down.
And I, while Fortune offered me so fair,
Did what I might his honor to appair,
And took on me to be the prince of Wales,
70Enticed thereto by many of Merlin’s tales.