The Passetyme of Pleasure is a long allegorical poem in seven-lined stanzas of mans life in this world. It is divided into sections after the manner of Le Morte d'Arthur and borrows the machinery of romance. Its main motive is the education of the knight, Graunde Amour, based, according to Mr W. J. Courthope (Hist. of Eng. Poetry, vol. I. 382), on the Marriage of Mercury and Philology, by Martianus Capella, and the details of the description prove Hawes to have been well acquainted with medieval systems of philosophy. At the suggestion of Fame, and accompanied by her two greyhounds, Grace and Governance, Graunde Amour starts out in quest of La Bel Pucel. He first visits the Tower of Doctrine or Science where he acquaints himself with the arts of grammar, logic, rhetoric and arithmetic. After a long disputation with the lady in the Tower of Music he returns to his studies, and after sojourns at the Tower of Geometry, the Tower of Doctrine, the Castle of Chivalry, etc., he arrives at the Castle of La Bel Pucel, where he is met by Peace, Mercy, Justice, Reason and Memory. His happy marriage does not end the story, which goes on. to tell of the oncoming of Age, with the concomitant evils of Avarice and Cunning. The admonition of Death brings Contrition and Conscience, and it is only when Remembraunce has delivered an epitaph chiefly dealing with the Seven Deadly Sins, and Fame has enrolled Graunde Amours name with the knights of antiquity, that we are allowed to part with the hero. This long imaginative poem was widely read and esteemed, and certainly exercised an influence on the genius of Edmund Spenser.
Hawes' poetry sought to revive the earlier medieval romances and allegorical poems which he much admired. Other works of Hawes include The Conversyon of Swerers (1509) and A Joyfidi Medytenon to all Englonde, a coronation poem (1509).