Richard Niccols's bitter epigram plays on ll. 41-42 of Spenser's Ruines of Time: "Verlame I was; what boots it that I was, | Sith now I am but Weeds and wasteful Grass?" The reference is to the British Verolamians, as mentioned by Holinshed; see the Hopkins Variorum (1933-57) 8:286. Niccols's social criticism can be explored at length in his two Spenserian beast fables, The Cuckow (1607) and The Beggars Ape (1627).
In tunefull accents of a dolefull straine
Old Verlams fall thus Colin did complaine:
Verlam I was: what boots it what I was
Sith now I am but weeds and wastefull grass?
But liv'd he now to see our townes each day
Made coats for sheep: of them he thus might say,
Townes once we were: what boots it what we were
Since nothing now but sheepes dung doth appeare?
Here's neyther greene of wastfull weeds or grasse,
Our wretched case is worse than Verlams was.