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Sir; though (I thank God for it) I do hate
Perfectly all this town; yet there's one state
Yet here, as e'en in hell, there must be still
One giant-vice, so excellently ill,
That all beside one pities, not abhors:
As who knows Sappho, smiles at other whores.
I grant that poetry's a crying sin
It brought (no doubt) the excise and army in :
Catch'd like the plague, or love, the Lord knows how,
But that the cure is starving, all allow.
Yet like the papist's, is the poet's state,
Poor and disarm'd, and hardly worth your hate?
Here a lean bard, whose wit could never give Himself a dinner, makes an actor live: The thief condemu'd, in law already dead, So prompts, and saves a rogue who cannot read. Thus as the pipes of some carved organ move, The gilded puppets dance and mount above. Heaved by the breath the inspiring bellows blow: The inspiring hellows lie and pant below.
One sings the fair: but songs no longer move; No rat is rhymed to death, nor maid to love; In love's, in natures spite, the siege they hold, And scorn the flesh, the devil, and all but gold.
These write to lords, some meat reward to get, As needy heggars sing at doors for meat. Those write because all write, and so have still Excuse for writing, and for writing ill. Wretched indeed: but far more wretched yet Is he who makes his meal on other's wit: 'Tis changed, no doubt, from what it was before; His rank digestion makes it wit no more: Sense, pass'd throngh bim, no longer is the same; For food digested takes another name.
I pass o'er all those confessors and martyrs,
Who live like S-tt---n, or who die like Chartres.
Out-cant old Esdras, or out-drink his heir,
Oat-usure Jews. or Irishmen out-swear;
Wicked as pages, who in early years
Acts sins which Prisca's confessor scarce hears :
E'en those I pardou, for whose sinful sake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make;
Of whose strange crimes no canonist can tell
In what cominandment's large contents they dwell.
One, one man only breeds my just offence ;
Whom crimes gave wealth, and w-alth gave inpudence
Time, that at last matures a clap to pox,
Whose gentle progress makes a calf an ox.
In all ill things, so excellently hest,
That hate tow'rds thein, breeds pity tow'rds the rest.
Though poetry, indeed, be such a sin,
As I think, that brings dearth and Spaniards in:
Though like the pestilence and old-fashion'd love
Rijlingly it catch 'nen, and doch remove
Never, till it be starved out; yet their state
Is poor, disarm’d, like papists, not worth hate.
One (like a wretch, which at bar judged as dead,
Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot read,
And saves his life) gives idiot actors means
(Starving himself) to live by's labour'd scenes.
As in some organs puppets dance above,
And as bellows pant below, which them do inove, ,
One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's
Bring not now their old fears, not their old harms;
Rams and slings now are silly battery,
Pistolets are the best artillery.
And they who write to lords, rewards to get,
Are they not like singers at doors for meat ?
And they who write, becaus all write, have still
That 'scuse for writing, and for writing ill.
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw
Other wits-fruits, and in his ravenous maw
Rankly digested, doth those things out spue,
As his own things; and they're his own, 'tis true :
For if one eat my meat, though it be known
The meat was mine, the excrement’s his own.
But these do me no harm, nor they which use,
to out-usure Jews.
To out-drink the sea, t'outswear the letanie
Who with sins all kinds as familiar be
As confessors, and for whose sinful sake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make :
Whose strange sins canonists could hardly tell
In which commandment's large receipt they dwell.
But these punish themselves. The insolence Of Coscus, only breeds my just offence, Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches pox, And plodding on, must make a calf an ox) And brings all natural events to pass, Hath made him an attorney of an ass. No young divine, new-beneficed, can be More pert, more proud, more positive than he What farther could I wish the fop to do, But turn a wit, and scribble verses too? Pierce the soft labyrinth of a lady's ear With rhymes of this per cent, and that per year? Or court a wife, spread out his wily parts, L ke nets, or lime-twigs for rich widows' heart's ; Call himself barrister to every wench, And woo in lang iage of the Pleas and Bench? Language, which Boreas might to Auster bold, More rough than forty Germans when they scold.
Cursed be the wretch, so venal and so vain, Paltry and proud, as drabs in Drury lane. 'Tis such a bounty as was never known, If Peter deigns to help you to your own: What thanks, what praise, if Peter but supplies !
And what a solemn face, if he denies !
Grave, as when prisoners shake the head and swear,
'Twas o: ly suretiship that brought them there.
His otfice keeps your parchinent fates eatire,
He starves with cold to save them froin the fire ;
For you he walks the streets through rain or dust,
For not in chariots Peter puts his trust;
For you he sweats and labours at the laws,
Taker God to witness he affects your cause,
And lies to every lord in every thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.
These are the talents that adorn them all,
From wicked Waters e'en to godly * *
Not more of simony beneath black gowns,
Not more of bastardy in heirs to crowns.
In shillings and in pence at first they deal ;
And steal so little, few perce:ve they steal ;
Till, like the sea, they compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover strand
And when rank widows purchase luscious nights,
Or when a duke to Jansen punts at White's,
Or city heir in mortgage melts away ;
Satan himself feeis far less joy than they.
Piecemeal they win this acre first, then that,
Glean on, and gather up the whole estate ;
Then strongly fencing ill-got wealth by law,
Indentures, covenants, articles they draw
Large as the fields themselves, and larger far
Than civil codes, with all their glosses, are ;
So vast, our new divines, we must confess,
Are fathers of the church for writing less.