The Souls Errand

By Sir Walter Raleigh

GO, Soul, the body’s guest,         

  Upon a thankless errand;          

Fear not to touch the best;         

  The truth shall be thy warrant:

    Go, since I need must die,               

    And give them all the lie.  

       

Go tell the Court it glows             

  And shines like rotten wood;   

Go tell the Church it shows         

  What’s good, but does no good:                     

    If Court and Church reply        

    Give Court and Church the lie.  

             

Tell Potentates they live

  Acting, but oh! their actions;    

Not loved, unless they give,                

  Nor strong but by their factions:             

    If Potentates reply,    

    Give Potentates the lie.

            

Tell men of high condition,          

  That rule affairs of state,                   

Their purpose is ambition;           

  Their practice only hates:          

    And if they do reply,  

    Then give them all the lie.

  

Tell Physic of her boldness;                 

  Tell Skill it is pretension;            

Tell Charity of coldness;

  Tell Law it is contention:            

    And if they yield reply,             

    Then give them all the lie.

         

So when thou hast, as I 

  Commanded thee, done blabbing;        

Although to give the lie 

  Deserves no less than stabbing:              

    Yet stab at thee who will,                

    No stab the Soul can kill.          

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