Page images
PDF
EPUB

"What makes a church a den of thieves ?"-
"A dean and chapter, and white sleeves."
"And what would serve, if these were gone,
To make it orthodox ?"-" Our own."

"What makes morality a crime,
The most notorious of the time;
Morality, which both the saints
And wicked too cry out against ?"
"Cause grace and virtue are within
Prohibited degrees of kin;

And therefore no true saint allows
They shall be suffer'd to espouse."

1 "What makes rebelling against kings

A good old cause?"—" Administrings."

Administrings were powers given by the law to appropriate the goods of persons dying intestate.

Nothing was ever wittier or better written than the whole of the passage here following, particularly the first and last four lines. I have closed the extract with the latter, in order to give it its best effect; otherwise the author goes on capitally well,—

For saints can need no conscience

That with morality dispense,

As virtue's impious when 't is rooted
In nature only, and not imputed;

And so he proceeds to conclude, that

-A large conscience is all one,

And signifies the same as none.

Such are the meetings of extremes in fanatical religions. And the description is no caricature.

By the ridiculous doctrine of "imputed merit," God's creatures were to be all vice, in order to compliment the Creator with the exclusive possession of all virtue! The children were to be made pure scoundrels, in order to do the greater honour to the father! Such are the flatteries of superstition!

THE ASTROLOGERS.

Quoth Ralph, Not far from hence doth dwell

A cunning man, hight Sidrophel,

That deals in Destiny's dark counsels

And sage opinions of the moon sells ;

To whom all people far and near
On deep importances repair;
When brass and pewter hap to stray,
Or linen slinks out of the way,
When geese and pullet are seduc'd,

And sows of sucking pigs are chows'd.—

He made an instrument to know

If the moon shine at full or no;

That would as soon as e'er she shone, straight
Whether 't were day or night demonstrate :
Tell what her diameter to an inch is,

And prove that she's not made of green cheese.

A STATESMAN'S CONVERSATION.

-All a subtle statesman says

Is half in words and half in face,

As Spaniards talk in dialogues

Of heads and shoulders, nods and shrugs

Intrust it under solemn vows

Of" mum," and "silence," and "the rose,"
To be retail'd again in whispers

For th' easy credulous to disperse.

HEROES OF ROMANCE.

There was an ancient sage philosopher,
That had read Alexander Ross over,1
And swore the world, as he could prove,

Was made of fighting and of love.

Just so romances are, for what else

Is in them all, but love and battles?

O' th' first of these w' have no great matter

To treat of, but a world o' the latter,

In which to do the injur'd right

We mean, in what concerns just fight.

Certes our authors are to blame,

For, to make some well-sounding name
A pattern fit for modern knights

To copy out in frays and fights,

(Like those that a whole street do raze,
To build a palace in the place,)
They never care how many others
They kill, without regard of mothers,
Or wives, or children, so they can
Make up some fierce, dead-doing man,
Compos'd of many ingredient valours,

Just like the manhood of nine tailors.

1 "That had read Alexander Ross over."-A tedious and voluminous writer of divinity.

SELF-POSSESSION.

"T is not restraint or liberty

That makes men prisoners or free,
But perturbations that possess

The mind, or equanimities.

The whole world was not half so wide

To Alexander when he cried

Because he had but one to subdue,

As was a paltry narrow tub to

Diogenes, who is not said

(For aught that ever I could read)

To whine, put finger i' th' eye, and sob,

Because he had ne'er another tub.1

1 “Another tub.”—Diogenes, who desired Alexander to "stand out of his sunshine," is here made to turn the tables a second time and in the happiest manner, on the great spoiled child of Victory.

MISCELLANEOUS PASSAGES AND RHYMES.

"O Heaven!" quoth she, "can that be true?

I do begin to fear 't is you;

Not by your individual whiskers,

But by your dialect and discourse."

A torn beard 's like a batter'd ensign;

That's bravest which there are most rents in.

Th' extremes of glory and of shame,
Like east and west, become the same.
No Indian prince has to his palace
More followers than a thief to the gallows.

-Wholesale critics, that in coffee-
Houses cry down all philosophy.

-Antichristian assemblies

To mischief bent as far 's in thèm lies.

Bruis'd in body,

And conjured into safe custòdy.

That proud dame

Used him so like a base rascallion,

That old Pyg-what d' ye call him-malion, That cut his mistress out of stone,

Had not so hard a hearted one.

It was a question whether he

Or 's horse were of a family

More worshipful; till antiquàries,
After they'd almost por'd out their eyes,

Did very learnedly decide

The business on the horse's side.

Have they invented tones to win
The women, and make them draw in
The men; as Indians with a female
Tame elephant inveigle the male ?

« PreviousContinue »