Internet Shakespeare Editions

Authors: William Baldwin, John Higgins
Editors: Michael Best, Sarah Milligan, Joey Takeda
Not Peer Reviewed

The Mirror for Magistrates (Selection)

1For sith I see thee pressed to hear that wilt record
What I Cordila tell to ease my inward smart,
I will recite my story tragical each word,
To thee that givest an ear to hear, and ready art;
5And lest I set the horse behind the cart,
I mind to tell each thing in order so
As thou mayest see and show whence sprang my woe.
My grandsire Bladud hight that found the baths by skill,
A feathered king that practiced for to fly and soar,
10Whereby he felt the fall God wot against his will,
And never went, rode, reigned nor spake, nor flew no more.
Who, dead, his son, my father, Leire therefore
Was chosen king, by right apparent heir,
Which after built the town of Leircester.
15He had three daughters. First and eldest hight Gonerell;
Next after her my sister Ragan was begot;
The third and last was, I, the youngest named Cordell,
And of us all, our father Leire in age did dote.
So, minding her that loved him best to note,
20Because he had no son t'enjoy his land,
He thought to give where favor most he found.
What though I youngest were, yet men me judge more wise
Than either Gonerell or Ragan had more age,
And fairer far. Wherefore my sisters did despise
25My grace and gifts and sought my praise t'assuage.
But yet, though vice 'gainst virtue die with rage,
It cannot keep her underneath to drown,
But still she flits above, and reaps renown.
Yet nonetheless my father did me not mislike.
30But age so simple is, and easy to subdue;
As childhood weak, that's void of wit and reason quite.
They think there's nought, you flatter feigned, but all is true;
"Once old and twice a child," tis said with you,
Which I affirm by proof, that was define:
35In age my father had a childish mind.