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YES; thank my ftars! as early as I knew
This town, had the fenfe to hate it too :
Yet here, as ev'n in Hell, there must be ftill
One giant-vice, so excellently ill,
That all befide, one pities, not abhors ;
As who knows Sappho, fmiles at other whores.
I grant that poetry's a crying fin;
It brought (no doubt) th' Excife and Army in :
Catch'd like the plague, or love, the Lord knows how,
But that the cure is ftarving, all allow.
Yet like the Papift's, is the poet's state,
Poor and disarm'd, and hardly worth your hate!
Here a lean bard, whofe wit could never give
Himself a dinner, makes an actor live :
IR; though I (thank God for it). I do hate Perfectly all this town; yet there's one state In all ill things, fo excellently beft,
That hate towards them, breeds pity towards the reft,
Though poetry, indeed, be such a fin,
As I think, that brings dearth and Spaniards in:
Though like the peftilence, and old-fashion'd love,
Ridlingly it catch men, and doth remove
Never, till it be ftarv'd out; yet their state
Is poor, difarm'd, like Papifts, not worth hate.
One (like a wretch, which at barre judg'd as dead, Yet prompts him which ftands next, and connot read,
The thief condemn'd, in law already dead,
So prompts, and faves a rogue who cannot read.
Thus as the pipes of fome carv'd organ move,
The gilded puppets dance and mount above.
Heav'd by the breath th' inspiring bellows blow:
Th' infpiring bellows lie and pant below.
One fings the fair; but fongs no longer move;
No rat is rhym'd to death, nor maid to love :
In love's, in nature's fpite, the fiege they hold,
And scorn the flesh, the dev'l, and all but gold.
These write to lords, fome mean reward to get,
As needy beggars fing at doors for meat.
Those write because all write, and so have still
Excufe for writing, and for writing ill.
Wretched indeed! but far more wretched yet
Is he who makes his meal on others wit:
'Tis chang'd, no doubt, from what it was before,
His rank digeftion makes it wit no more:
Bring not now their old fears, nor their old harms;
Rams and flings now are filly battery,
Piftolets are the beft artillery.
And they who write to lords, rewards to get,
Are they not like fingers at doors for meat?
And they who write, because all write, have ftill
That 'fcufe for writing, and for writing ill.
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw
Others wits fruits, and in his ravenous maw
Rankly digefted, doth thefe things outspue,
As his own things: and they're his own, 'tis true,
And faves his life) gives ideot actors means
(Starving himself) to live by's labour'd fcenes.
As in fome organs, puppits dance above,
And bellows pant below, which them do move.
One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's charms
Senfe, paft thro' him, no longer is the fame;
For food digefted takes another name.
I pass o'er all thofe confeffors and martyrs,
Who live like S-tt-n, or who die like Chartres,
Outcant old Efdras, or out-drink his heir,
Outufure Jews, or Irifhmen outfwear;
Wicked as pages, who in early years
A&t fins which Prifca's confeffor fcarce hears.
Ev'n those I pardon, for whofe finful fake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make;
Of whose strange crimes no canonift can tell
In what commandment's large contents they dwell.
One, one man only breeds my juft offence;
Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave impudence:
Time, that at laft matures a clap to pox,
Whofe gentle progress makes a calf an ox,
And brings all natural events to pass,
Hath made him an attorney of an ass.
For if one eat my meat, though it be known
The meat was mine, the excrement's his own.
But thefe do me no harm, nor they which use,
to outufure Jews,
T'outdrink the fea, t' outswear the Letanie,
Who with fins all kinds as familiar be
As confeffors, and for whofe finful fake
Scoolmen new tenements in hell must make;
Whofe ftrange fins canonifts could hardly tell
In which commandment's large receit they dwell.
But these punish themselves. The infolence
Of Cofcus, only, breeds my just offence,
Whom time, (which rots all, and makes botches pox,
And plodding on, muft make a calf an ox)
Hath made a lawyer; which (alas) of late;
But scarce a poet: jollier of this ftate,
No young divine, new-benefic'd, can be
More pert, more proud, more pofitive than he.
What further could I wish the fop to do,
But turn a wit, and fcribble verfes too?
Pierce the foft lab'rinth of a lady's ear,
With rhymes of this per cent. and that per year?
Or court a wife, fpread out his wily parts,
Like nets or lime-twigs, for rich widows hearts;
Call himself barrister to ev'ry wench,
And woo in language of the pleas and bench?
Language, which Boreas might to Aufter hold
More rough than forty Germans when they scold.
Curs'd be the wretch, fo venal and fo vain:
Paltry and proud, as drabs in Drury-lane.
'Tis fuch 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 folemn face, if he denies !
Grave, as when pris'ners shake the head and fwear
'Twas only furetiship that brought 'em there.
Than are new-benefic'd minifters, he throws
Like nets or lime-twigs wherefoe'er he goes
His title of barrifter on ev'ry wench,
And wooes 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 fcolding, more
Than when winds in our ruin'd abbeys roar.
Then fick with poetry, and poffeft with muse
Thou waft, and mad I hop'd; but men which chufe
Law practice for mere gain: bold foul repute
Worfe than imbrothel'd ftrumpets prostitute.
Now like an owl-like watchman he muft walk,
His hand ftill at a bill; now he must talk