Born from ignoble stock on a day of dearth
he tramps the roads, trailing his withered branch
and grudges every beauty of the wide earth.
Lack is his name, and although in gentleness
you set him honourably at the high table
and load his plate with luxury of excess,
Crying: ‘Eat well, brother, and drink your fill’,
yet with hunger whetted only, he boasts aloud:
‘I have never begged a favour, nor ever will’
His clothes are sad, but a burly wretch is he,
of lustreless look, slack mouth, a borrowed wit,
and a sigh that would charm the song-bird from her tree.
Now he casts his eye in greed upon your demesne
with open mockery of a heart so open
it dares this gallows-climber to entertain.