HAT 'vaileth truth, or by it to take pain ?|
To strive by steadfastness for to attain
How to be just, and flee from doubleness ?
Since all alike, where ruleth craftiness,
Rewarded is both crafty, false, and plain.
Soonest he speeds that most can lie and feign :
True meaning heart is had in high disdain.
Against deceit and cloaked doubleness,
What 'vaileth truth, or perfect steadfastness ?
Deceived is he by false and crafty train,
That means no guile, and faithful doth remain
Within the trap, without help or redress :
But for to love, lo, such a stern mistress,
Where cruelty dwells, alas, it were in vain.
What 'vaileth truth !