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The Chesse Play

By Nicholas Breton (1542-1626)

The King himself is haughtie care,
Which ouerlooketh all his men,
And when he seeth how they fare,
He steps among them now and then,
Whom when his foe presumes to checke,
His servants stand, to give the necke.

The Queene is queint, and quicke conceit,
Which makes her walke which way she list,
Ans rootes them up, that lie in wait,
To worke hir treason ere she wist:
Hir force is such agaionst her foes,
T hat whom she meets, she ouerthrowes…

The Rookes poore Pawnes, are sillie swaines,
Which seldom serue, except by hap,
and yet those Pawns, ccan lay their traines,
To catch a great man, in a trap:
So that I see, sometime a groome
May not be spared from his roome.


The Knight is knowledge how to fight
against his Princes enimies,
He neuer makes his walke outright,
But leaps and skips, in wilie wise,
To take by sleight a traitrous foe,
Might slilie seek their ouerthrowe.

The Bishop he is wittie braine,
That chooseth crossest pathes to pace,
And euermore he pries with paine,
To see who seekes him most disgrace:
Such straglers when he findes astaie,
He takes them up, and throws awaie.

The Rookes are reason on both sides,
Which keepe the corner houses still,
And warily stand to watch their tides,
By secret art to worke thier will,
To take sometime a theefe unseen,
Might mischiefe mean to King or Queene.”

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