Note to Hamlet, 5.1.61-97: The gravedigger's song

The gravedigger's song consists of garbled bits and pieces from a popular poem of Shakespeare's time, which is reprinted below.
Act 5, Scene 1, line 61

The Aged Lover Renounceth Love

Thomas Vaux, 2nd Baron Vaux of Harrowden (1509-1556)

that I did love: those I used to love.
I loathe that I did love,
     In youth that I thought sweet,
As ... meet: i.e., because the passage of time requires what is appropriate for my age, I think that those loves I had are no longer suitable.
As time requires for my behove,
     Methinks they are not meet.

lusts: pleasures.
My lusts they do me leave,
fancies: romantic crushes.
     My fancies all be fled,
tract of time: passage of time.
And tract of time begins to weave
     Grey hairs upon my head,

For age with stealing steps
     Hath clawed me with his crutch,
And lusty life away she leaps
     As there had been none such.

My Muse doth not delight
     Me as she did before;
in plight: dedicated to love.
My hand and pen are not in plight,
     As they have been of yore.

For reason me denies
     This youthly idle rhyme;
And day by day to me she cries,
Leave off these toys in time: i.e. it's time for you to leave off these idle whims.
     "Leave off these toys in time."

The wrinkles in my brow,
     The furrows in my face,
Say, limping age will lodge him now
     Where youth must give him place.

The harbinger of death,
     To me I see him ride,
The cough, the cold, the gasping breath
     Doth bid me provide

A pickaxe and a spade,
     And eke a shrouding sheet,
A house of clay: i.e. a grave.
A house of clay for to be made
     For such a guest most meet.

clark: clerk, priest.
Methinks I hear the clark
knolls the careful bell: i.e., rings the warning bell.
     That knolls the careful knell,
wark: pain; i.e., love-longing.
And bids me leave my woeful wark,
     Ere nature me compel.

My keepers knit the knot: my sick-bed attendants marry me to death. (??)
My keepers knit the knot
     That youth did laugh to scorn,
Of me that clean shall be forgot
     As I had not been born.

Thus must I youth give up,
     Whose badge I long did wear;
To them I yield the wanton cup
     That better may it bear.

barèd skull: i.e. bald head.
Lo, here the barèd skull,
bald: i.e. obvious, blunt.
     By whose bald sign I know
stooping ... sow: i.e. stooping age will steal away everything that I planted as a youth.
That stooping age away shall pull
     Which youthful years did sow.

For beauty ... wrought: i.e. the pursuit of beauty and pleasure has made me stooped and full of woe. (??)
For beauty with her band
     These crooked cares hath wrought,
And shippèd me into the land
     From whence I first was brought.

And ye that bide behind,
Have ... dust: i.e. don't think you can dodge your fate: as you were formed of clay like all other humans, so you shall crumble into dust.
     Have ye none other trust:
As ye of clay were cast by kind,
     So shall ye waste to dust.