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Good common linguists, and so Panurge was;
Nay troth the apostles (though perhaps too rough)
Had once a pretty gift of tongues enough:
Yet these were all poor gentlemen! I dare
Affirm, 'twas travel made them what they were.
Thus, others' talents having nicely shown,
He came by sure transition to his own:
Till I cried out, You prove yourself so able,
Pity! you was not Druggerman at Babel;
For had they found a linguist half so good,
I make no question but the tower had stood.'
Obliging sir! for courts you sure were made: Why then for ever buried in the shade?
Spirits like you, should see and should be seen,
The king would smile on you-at least the queen.'
'Ah gentle sir! your courtiers so cajole us-
But Tully has it, Nunquam minus solus :
And as for courts, forgive me, if I say
No lessons now are taught the Spartan way:
Though in his pictures lust be full display'd,
Few are the converts Aretine has made;
And though the court show vice exceeding clear,
None should, by my advice, learn virtue there.'
At this entranced, he lifts his hands and eyes, Squeaks like a high-stretch'd lutestring, and replies ; "Oh, 'tis the sweetest of all earthly things
To gaze on princes, and to talk of kings!'
Then happy man who shows the Tombs !' said I,
'He dwells amidst the royal family;
He every day from king to king can walk,
Of all our Harries, all our Edwards talk;
And get, by speaking truth of monarchs dead,
What few can of the living, ease and bread.'
'Lord, sir, a mere mechanic! strangely low,
And coarse of phrase,-your English all are so,
How elegant your Frenchmen! Mine d'ye mean?
I have but one; I hope the fellow's clean.'
He names me, and comes to me; I whisper, 'God,
How have I sinn'd that thy wrath's furious rod,
This fellow, chooseth me!' he saith, Sir,
I love your judgment, whom do you prefer
For the best linguist?' and I seelily
Said that I thought Calepine's dictionary.
'Nay, but of men, most sweet sir?' Beza then,
Some Jesuits, and two reverend men
Of our two accadamies I named.
He stopp'd me, and said, 'Nay, your apostles were
Good pretty linguists; so Panurgus was,
Yet a poor gentleman; all these may pass
By travail. Then, as if he would sold
His tongue, he praised it, and such wonders told,
That I was fain to say, 'If you had lived, sir,
Time enough to have been interpreter
To Babel's bricklayers, sure the tower had stood.'
He adds, If of court life you knew the good,
You would leave loneless.' I said, 'Not alone
My loneless is; but Spartanes fashion
To teach by painting drunkards doth not last
Now, Aretine's pictures have made few chaste;
No more can princes courts (though there be few
Better pictures of vice) teach me virtue.'
He like to a high stretch'd lutestring squeaks, 'O sir 'Tis sweet to talk of kings.' At Westminster' Said I, the man that keeps the Abbey-tombs,
And for his prince, doth with whoever comes
Of all our Harries and our Edwards talk
From king to king, and all their kin can walk :
Your ears shall hear nought but kings; your eyes meet Kings only; the way to it is King-street,
He smack'd, and cried, 'He's base, mechanique coarse,
So are all your Englishmen in their discourse.
Are not your Frenchmen neat?' 'Mine, as you see,
I have but one, sir, look he follows me.'
O! sir, politely so! nay let me die,
Your only wearing is your paduasoy.'
Not, sir, my only, I have better still,
And this you see is but my dishabille.-'
Wild to get loose, his patience I provoke,
Mistake, confound, object at all he spoke.
But as coarse iron, sharpen'd, mangles more,
And itch most hurts when anger'd to a sore;
So when you plague a fool, 'tis still the curse,
You only make the matter worse and worse.
He pass'd it o'er; affects an easy smile
At all my peevishness, and turns his style.
He asks, What news?' I tell him of new plays,
New eunuchs, harlequins, and operas.
He hears, and as a still with simples in it,
Between each drop it gives, stays half a minute,
Loath to enrich me with too quick replies,
By little and by little, drops his lies.
Mere household trash! of birthnights, balls, and shows
More than ten Hollinsheds, or Halls, or Stowes.
When the queen frown'd, or smiled, he knows; and
A subtle minister may make of that:
Who sins with whom who got his pension rug,
Or quicken'd a reversion by a drug :
Whose place is quarter'd out, three parts in four,
And whether to a bishop, or a whore:
Who, having lost his credit, pawn'd his rent,
Is therefore fit to have a government:
Who, in the secret, deals in stocks secure,
And cheats the unknowing widow and the poor:
Who makes a trust of charity a job,
And gets an act of parliament to rob
Why turnpikes rise, and now no cit nor clown
Can gratis see the country, or the town:
Shortly no lad shall chuck, or lady vole,
But some excising courtier will have toll,
He tells what strumpet places cells for life.
What 'squire his lands, what citizen his wife:
At last (which proves him wiser still than all)
What lady's face is not a whited wall.
As one of Woodward's patients, sick and sore,
I puke, I nauseate,-yet he thrusts in more:
Trims Europe's balance, tops the statesman's part,
And talks gazettes and postboys o'er by heart,
Like a big wife at sight of loathsome meat,
Ready to cast, I yawn, I sigh, I sweat.
Then as a licensed spy, who nothing can
Silence or hurt, he libels every man ;
Certes they are neatly cloathed. I of this mind am, Your only wearing is your grogaram.
'Not so, sir, I have more.' Under this pitch
He would not fly: I chaff'd him but as itch,
Scratch'd in smart, and as blunt iron ground
Into an edge, hurts worse. So I (fool) found.
Crossing hurt me. To fit my sullenness,
He to another key his style doth dress:
And asks what news; I tell him of new playes.
He takes my hand, and as a still, which stayes
A sembrief 'twixt each drop, he niggardly,
As loath to enrich me, so tells many a ly.
More than ten Hollinsheds, or Halls, or Stows,
Of trivial houshold trash, he knows. He knows
When the queen frown'd or smiled! and he knows
A subtle statesman may gather of that:
He knows who loves whom: and who by poison
Hasts to an officer's reversion;
Who wastes in meat, in clothes, in horse, he notes;
Who loveth whores * * * * * * *
He knows who hath sold his land, and now doth beg
A licence, old iron, boots, and egge-
Shells to transport; ******
* * * * * * shortly boys shall not play
At span-counter, or blow-point, but shall pay
Toll to some courtier; and wiser than all us,
He knows what lady is not painted. Thus
He with home meats cloys me. I belch, spue, spit,
Look pale and sickly, like a patient, yet
He thrusts on more, and as he had undertook,
To say Gallo Belgicus without book,
Speaks of all states and deeds that have been since
The Spaniards came to the loss of Amyens.
Like a big wife, at sight of loathed meat,
Ready to travail: so I sigh, and sweat
To hear this makaron talk: in vain for yet,
Either my humour, or his own to fit,
He, like a privileged spie, whom nothing can