What '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!