Page images
PDF
EPUB

Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth 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 best,

That hate tow'rds them, 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
Ridlingly it catch men, and doth 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 move, One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's charms

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 language of the Pleas and Bench?
Language, which Boreas might to Auster hold,
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 only suretiship that brought them there.
His office keeps your parchment fates entire,
He starves with cold to save them from 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 perceive 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 feels 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.

Hath made a lawyer; which (alas) of late,
But scarce a poet: jollier of this state,
Thau are new beneficed ministers, he throws
Like nets of lime-twigs wheresoe'er he goes,
His title of barrister on every wench,

And woos in language of the Pleas and Bench.*
* * *** Words, words which would tear
The tender labyrinth of a maid's soft ear:
More, more than ten Sclavonians scolding, more
Than when winds in our ruin'd abbeys roar.
Then sick with poetry, and possess'd with muse
Thou wast, and mad I hoped; but men which chuse,
Law practice for mere gain: bold soul repute
Worse than imbrothel'd strumpets prostitute.
Now like an owl-like watchman he must walk,
His hand still at a bill; now he must talk

Idly, like prisoners, which whole months will swear,
That only suretiship had brought them there,
And to every suitor lye in every thing,
Like a king's favourite or like a king.
Like a wedge in a biock, writing to the barre
Bearing like asses, and more shameless farre
Than carted whores, lie to the grave judge: for
Bastardy abounds not in king's titles, nor
Simony and Sodomy in churchmen's lives,
As these things do in him; by these he thrives.
Shortly (as the sea) he'll compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover Strand
And spying heirs melting with luxury;

Satan will not joy at their sins as he;

For (as a thrifty wench scrapes kitchen-stuffe,
And barrelling the droppings and the snuffe
Of wasting candles, which in thirty year,

VOL II.

X

[blocks in formation]

Reliquely kept, perchance buys wedding cheer)
Piecemeal he gets lauds, and spends as much time
Wringing each acre, as maids pulling prime.
In parchment then, large as the fields, he draws
Assurances, big as gloss'd civil laws,

But let them write for you, each rogue impairs
The deeds, and dexterously omits ses heires;
No commentator can more slily pass

Over a learn'd unintelligible place:

Or, in quotation, shrewd divines leave out

Those words that would against them clear the doubt.

So Luther thought the Pater-noster iong, When doom'd to say his beads and even-song; But having cast his cowl, and left those laws, Adds to Christ's prayer, the power and glory clause. The lands are bought; but where are to be found Those ancient woods, that shaded all the ground? We see no new-built palaces aspire,

No kitchens emulate the vestal fire.

Where are those troops of poor, that throng'd of yore The good old landlord's hospitable door?

Well, I could wish, that still in lordly domes

Some beast were kill'd, though not whole hecatombs ;
That both extremes were banish'd from their walls,
Carthusian fasts, and fulsome bacchanals;

And all mankind might that just mean observe,
In which none e'er could surfeit, none could starve.
These as good works, 'tis true, we all allow,

But, oh these works are not in fashion now:
Like rich old wardrobes, things extremely rare,
Extremely fine, but what no man will wear.

Thus much I've said, I trust, ithout offence;
Let no court sycophant pervert my sense,

« PreviousContinue »