A most notable and worthy example of an vngratious Sonne, who in the pride of his hart denied his owne Father: and how God for his offence turned his meate into loathsome Toades. To the tune of Lord Darley.

IN searching famous Chronicles,
it was my chaunce to reed.
A worthy storie strange and true,
whereto I tooke good heed:
Betwixt a Farmer and his Sonne,
this rare example standes:
Which wel may moue the hardest harts
to weepe and wring their handes.
This Farmer in the Country dwelt,
whose substance did excell:
He sent therefore his eldest Sonne
in Paris for to dwell:
Where he became a Marchant man,
and traffique great he vsd,
So that he was exceeding rich,
till he himselfe abusd.
For hauing now the world at will,
his mind was wholly bent,
To gaming, wine, and wantonnesse,
till all his goods were spent:
Yea such excessiue riotousnesse,
by him was spewed foorth,
That he was threi times more in debt
then all his wealth was worth.
At length his credite cleane was cract
and he in prison cast:
And euery man against him then,
did set his action fast.
There lay he locke in Irons strong,
for euer and for aye,
Unable while his life did last,
his greeuous debts to pay.
And lying in this carefull case,
his eyes with teares besprent,
The lewdnes for his former life,
too late he did repent.
And being voyde of all reliefe,
of helpe and comfort quite,
Unto his Father at the last,
he thus began to write.
Bow downe a while your heedful eares
my louing Father deare,
And graunt I pray in gratious sort,
my pittious plaintes to heare.
Forgiue the soule offences all
of thy vnthriftie Sonne:
which through the lewdnes of his life,
hath now himselfe vndone.
O my good Father take remorce,
on this my extreame neede:
And succour his distressed state,
whose hart for woe doth bleed,
In dolefull dungeon heere I lie,
my feete in fetters fast:
Whom my most cruell creditors,
in Prison so haue cast.
Let pittie therefore pearce your brest,
and mercy moue your minde,
And to release my miserie,
some shift sweete Father finde.
My chiefest cheare is bread ful brown
the boordes my softest bed:
And flinty stones for pillowes serues
to rest my troubled head.
My garments all are worne to rags,
my body statues with cold:
And crawling vermine eates my flesh,
most greeuous to behold.
Deare Father come therefore with speed
and rid me out of thrall,
And let me not in prison die,
sith for your helpe I call.
The good old man no sooner had,
perusde this written scrowle:
But trickling teares along his cheeks
from watry eyes did rowle:
Alas my Sonne, my Sonne quoth he
in whom I ioyed most:
Thou shalt not long in prison be,
what euer it doth cost.
Two hundred heads of well fed beasts
he changed then for gold:
Foure hundred quarters eke of corne,
for siluer there he sold.
But all the same could not suffize,
that haynous debt to pay:
Till he at length constrained was,
to sell his land away.
Then was his Sonne released quite,
his debt discharged cleane,
And left likewise as well to liue,
as he before had been.
Then went his louing Father home,
who for to helpe his Sonne,
Had sold his lyuing quite away,
and eke him selfe vndone.
So that he lyued poore and bare,
and in such extreame need,
That many times he wanted food,
his hungry corpes to feed:
His Sonne meane time in silkes did swim
whose substance now was such:
That sure within the Cittie walles,
few men were found so rich.
But as his goods did still increase,
and riches in did slide,
So more and more his hardned hart,
did swell in hatefull pride:
But it befell vpon a time,
when ten yeeres woe was past,
Unto his Sonne he did repaire,
for some reliefe at last.
And being come vnto his house,
in very poore aray,
It chaunced so that with his Sonne,
great states should dine that day.
The poore old man with Hat in hand,
did then the Porter pray,
To shew his Sonne that at the gate,
his Father there did stay.
Wherat this proud disdainfull wretch
with taunting speeches sayd,
That long agoe his Fathers boones,
within the graue was layd:
What Rascall then is that quoth he,
that stayneth so my state?
I charge thee Porter presently
to driue him from my gate.
Which answere when ye old man heard
he was in minde dismayde:
He wept, he waild, he wrong his hands
and thus at length he sayd.
O cursed wretch, and most vnkind,
thou worker of my woe:
Thou monster to humanitie,
and eke thy Fathers foe.
Haue I bin carefull of thy case,
maintayning still thy state:
And dost thou now so doggedly,
enforce me from thy gate?
And haue I wrongd thy brethren all
from thrall, to set thee free?
And brought my selfe to beggers state
and all to succour thee.
Woe worth the time when first of all
thy body I espide:
Which hast in hardnes of thy hart,
the Fathers face denide.
But now behold how God that time,
did shew a wonder great,
Euen when his son with al his friends
were setled downe to meate.
For when the fairest Pie was cut,
a strange and dreadfull case,
Most vglie Toads came crawling out
and leaped in his face.
Then did the wretch his fault confesse
and for his Father sent,
And then his great ingratitude,
full sore he did repent.
All vertuous Children learne by this,
obedient hartes to show:
And honour still your Parents deare,
for God commaundeth so,
And thinke how God did turne his meate
to poysond Toades indeed:
Which did his Fathers face denie,
because he stood in need.

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