If I shall summon to my mind
Those olden days, then I shall find
How all the world was full of wealth:
The life of man was passed in health;
Riches and plenty flourished then;
Then fortune favoured valiant men;
Knighthood was then an honoured name
Whereof, world-wide, men wrote the fame
In chronicles that still endure;
Then law and justice were secure,
The privilege of royalty
Upheld, and all the barony
Respected in their high estate.
The cities were not in debate,
The people were subservient
Under the rule of government;
And peace, by righteousness caressed,
With charity lay down to rest.
Men let their countenance express
Their secret hearts and inwardness;
No manner of deceit was wrought,
The word was mirror to the thought;
Then love was safe from jealousy;
Then virtue was prized royally,
And vice was trampled underfoot.
Now lies the flower below the root;
The world has altered utterly,
And in one way especially:
Love has grown all discordant now.
And, for your witness, set down how
In every land beneath the sky,
With common voice which cannot lie
(Not one by one but all for all
It is that now they cry and call),
Men say their kingdoms are divided;
By hate, not love, are laws decided;
No peace is now the prize of war;
The law is double-faced, therefore
All justice now has lost its way
And righteousness is gone astray.
— John Gower, Confessio Amantis (14th century)