The King himself is haughty care,
Which overlooketh all his men,
And when he seeth how they fare,
He steps among them now and then;
Whom, when his foe presumes to check,
His servants stand to give the neck.
The Queen is quaint and quick conceit,
Which makes her walk which way she list,
And roots them up that lie in wait
To work her treason, ere she wist;
Her force is such against her foes
That whom she meets she overthrows.
The Knight is knowledge how to fight
Against his Prince’s enemies.
He never makes his walk outright,
But leaps and skips, in wily wise,
To take by sleight a trait’rous foe
Might slily seek their overthrow.
The Bishop he is witty brain
That chooseth crossest paths to pace,
And evermore he pries with pain
To see who seeks him most disgrace.
Such stragglers when he finds astray,
He takes them up, and throws away.
The Rooks are reason on both sides,
Which keep the corner-houses still,
And warily stand to watch their tides,
By secret art to work their will,
To take sometimes a thief unseen
Might mischief mean to King or Queen.
The Pawn before the King is peace,
Which he desires to keep at home;
Practice, the Queen’s, which doth not cease
Amid the world abroad to roam,
To find and fall upon each foe
Whereas his mistress means to go.
Before the Knight is peril placed,
Which he, by skipping, overgoes,
And yet that Pawn can work a cast
To overthrow his greatest foes;
The Bishop’s, prudence, prying still
Which way to work his master’s will.
The Rooks’ poor Pawns are silly swains,
Which seldom serve, except by hap,
And yet those Pawns can lay their trains
To catch a great man in a trap:
So that I see sometime a groom
May not be spared from his room.
THE NATURE OF THE CHESS MEN
The King is stately, looking high;
The Queen doth bear like majesty;
The Knight is hardy, valiant, wise;
The Bishop, prudent and precise;
The Rooks, no rangers out of ray;
The Pawns, the pages in the play.
Then rule with care and quick conceit,
And fight with knowledge, as with force;
So bear a brain to dash deceit,
And work with reason and remorse;
Forgive a fault when young men play,
So give a mate, and go your way.
And when you play, beware of Check;
Know how to save, and give, a neck;
And with a Check, beware of Mate;
But chief, ware “had I wist” too late.
Lose not the Queen, for ten to one,
If she be lost, the game is gone.