For quhat is it worth to tell ane fenzeit taill,
Quhen haly preiching may na thing auaill?
Now in this warld me think richt few or nane,
To Goddis word that hes deuotioun.
The eir is deif, the hart is hard as stane.
Now oppin sin without correctioun.
The e inclynand to the eirth ay doun.
Sa roustit is the warld with canker blak,
That now my taillis may lytill succour mak.
Zit gentill schir said I for my requeist,
Not to displeis zour fatherheid, I pray,
Vnder the figure off ane brutall beist,
Ane morall fabill ze wald denze to say.
Quha wait, nor I may leir and beir away
Sum thing thairby heirefter may auaill?
I grant quod he and thus begouth ane taill.
The end of the prolog, & beginnis
Ane lyoun at his pray wery foirrun,
To recreat his limmis and to rest,
Beikand his breist, and belly at the sun,
Vnder ane tre lay in the fair forest.
Swa come ane trip off myis out off thair nest,
Richt tait and trig, all dansand in ane gyis,
And ouer the lyoun lansit twyis, or thryis.
He lay so still, the myis wes not effeird,
Off Esope. 59
Bot to and fro out ouer him tuke thair trace.
Sum tirlit at the campis off his beird,
Sum spairit not to claw him on the face,
Merie and glaid, thus dansit thay ane space,
Till at the last, the nobill lyoun woke,
And with his pow, the maister mous he tuke.
Scho gaue ane cry, and all the laif agast,
Thair dansing left, and hid thame sone alquhair
Scho that wes tane, cryit and weipit fast.
And said allace oftymes that scho come thair.
Now am I tane ane wofull presonair
And for my gilt traistis incontinent,
Off lyfe and deith, to thoill the iugement.
Than spak the lyoun to that cairfull mous.
Thow catiue wretche, and vile vnworthie thing,
Ouer malapart, and eik presumpteous
Thow wes, to mak out ouer me thy tripping.
Knew thow not weill, I wes baith lord and king.
Off beistis all. Zes quod the mous I knaw.
Bot I misknew, because ze lay so law.
Lord, I beseik thy kinglie royaltie,
Heir quhat I say, and tak in patience.
Considder first my simple pouertie,
And syne thy mychtie hie magnyfycence.
Se als how thingis done off neglygence,
Nouther off malice, nor of presumptioun,
Tho rather suld haue grace and remissioun.