The thief, when he doth steal, thinks he doth gain;
Yet then the greatest loss he doth sustain.
Come, thief, tell me thy gains, but do not falter.
When summ’d, what comes it to more than the halter?
Perhaps, thou’lt say, The halter I defy;
So thou may’st say, yet by the halter die.
Thou’lt say, Then there’s an end; no, pr’ythee, hold,
He was no friend of thine that thee so told.
Hear thou the Word of God, that will thee tell,
Without repentance thieves must go to hell.
But should it be as thy false prophet says,
Yet nought but loss doth come by thievish ways.
All honest men will flee thy company,
Thou liv’st a rogue, and so a rogue will die.
Innocent boldness thou hast none at all,
Thy inward thoughts do thee a villain call.
Sometimes when thou liest warmly on thy bed,
Thou art like one unto the gallows led.
Fear, as a constable, breaks in upon thee,
Thou art as if the town was up to stone thee.
If hogs do grunt, or silly rats do rustle,
Thou art in consternation, think’st a bustle
By men about the door, is made to take thee,
And all because good conscience doth forsake thee.
Thy case is most deplorably so bad,
Thou shunn’st to think on’t, lest thou should’st be mad.
Thou art beset with mischiefs every way,
The gallows groaneth for thee every day.
Wherefore, I pr’ythee, thief, thy theft forbear,
Consult thy safety, pr’ythee, have a care.
If once thy head be got within the noose,
‘Twill be too late a longer life to choose.
As to the penitent thou readest of,
What’s that to them who at repentance scoff.
Nor is that grace at thy command or power,
That thou should’st put it off till the last hour.
I pr’ythee, thief, think on’t, and turn betime;
Few go to life who do the gallows climb.