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I quaked at heart : and, still afraid to see
All the court fillid with stranger things than he,
Ran out as fast as one that pays his bail,
And dreads more actions, hurries from a jail.
Bear me, some god! oh quickly bear me hence
To wholesome solitude, the nurse of sense !
Where contemplation prunes her ruffled wings,
And the free soul looks down to pity kings !
There sober thought pursued the amazing theme,
Till fancy colour'd it, and form'd a dream.
A vision hermits can to hell transport,
And forced e'en me to see the damn'd at court.
Not Dante, dreaming all the infernal state,
Beheld such scenes of envy, sin, and hate.
Base fear becomes the guilty, not the free;
Suits tyrants, plunderers, but suits not me:
Shall I, the terror of this sinful town,
Care, if a liveried lord or smile or frown?
Who cannot flatter, and detest who can,
Tremble before a noble serving-man?
O my fair mistress, Truth! shall I quit thee
For huffing, braggart, puft nobility ?
Thou, who since yesterday hast rollid o'er all
The busy, idle blockheads of the ball,
His thanks were ended, when I (which did see
All the court fill'd with more strange things than he
Ran from thence with such, or more haste than ono
Who fears more actions, doth hast from prison.
At home in wholesome solitariness
My piteous soul began the wretchedness
Of suitors at court to mourn; and a trance
Like his, who dreamt he saw hell, did advance
Itself o'er me; such men as he saw there
I saw at court, and worse and more. Lo fear
Becomes the guilty, not the accuser : Then,
Shall I, none's slave, of highborn or raised men
Fear frowns; and my mistress Truth, betray thee
For the huffing, bragart, puft nobility ?
No, no, thou which since yesterday has been
Almost about the whole world, hast thou seen,
Hast thou, oh Sun! beheld an einptier sort,
Than such as swell this bladder of a court ?
Now pox on those that show a court in wax!
It ought to bring all courtiers on their backs :
Such painted puppets ! such a varnish'd race
Of hollow gewgaws, only dress and face !
Such waxen noses, stately staring things-
No wonder some folks bow, and think them kings.
See! where the British youth, engaged no more,
At Fig's, at White's, with felons, or a whore,
Pay their last duty to the court, and come
All fresh and fragrant, to the drawing-room ;
In hues as gay, and odours as divine,
As the fair fields they sold to look so fine.
"Tbat 's velvet for a king" the flatterer swears;
'Tis true ; for ten days hence 'twill be king Lear's.
Our court may justly to our stage give rules,
That helps it both to fools' coats and to fools.
And why not players strut in courtiers' clothes ?
For these are actors too, as well as those :
O Sun, in all thy journey, vanity,
Such as swells the bladder of our court? I
Think he which made your waxen garden, and
Transported it from Italy, to stand
With us, at London, flouts our courtiers; for
Just such gay painted things, which no sap, nor
'Taste have in them, ours are: and natural
Some of the stocks are; their fruits bastard all.
"Tis ten o'clock and past; all whom the mues,
Baloun, or tennis, diet, or the stews
Had all the morning held, now the second
Time made ready, that day, in flocks are found
In the presence; and I (God pardon me)
As fresh and sweet their apparels be, as be
'Their fields they sold to buy them. For a king
Those hose are, cried the flatterers: and bring
Them next week to the theatre to sell.
Wants reach all states : me seems they do as well
At stage, as courts : all are players. Whoe'er looks
For themselves dare not go) o'er Cheapside books,
Wants reach all states : they beg but better dress’d, And all is splendid poverty at best.
Painted for sight, and essenced for the smell, Like frigates fraught with spice and cochineal, Sail in the ladies : how each pirate eyes So weak a vessel, and so rich a prize! 'Top-gallant he, and she in all her trim, He boarding her, she striking sail to him : Dear countess! you have charms all hearts to hit ! And “Sweet sir Fopling! you have so much wit! Such wits and beauties are not praised for nought, For both the beauty and the wit are bought. 'Twould burst e'en Heraclitus with the spleen, To see those antics, Fopling and Courtin : The presence seems, with things so richly odd, The mosque of Mahound, or some queer pagod. See them survey their limbs by Durer's rules, Of all beau-kind the best proportion'd fools !
Shall find their wardrobes inventory. Now
The ladies come.
As pirates (which do know
That there came weak ships fraught with cutchanel)
The men board them: and praise (as they think)
well, Their beauties; they the men's wits : both are
bought. Why good wits ne'er wear scarlet gowns, I thought This cause, these men, mens wits for speeches buy, And women buy all red which scarlets dye. He call'd her beauty lime-twigs, her hair net : She fears her drugs ill lay'd, her hair loose set : Wouldn't Heraclitus laugh to see Macrine From hat to shoe, himself at door refine, As if the presence were a mosque; and lift His skirts and hose, and call his clothes to shrift, Making them confess not only mortal Great stains and holes in them, but venial Feathers and dust, wherewith they fornicate; And then by Durer's rules survey the state Of his each limb, and with strings the odds tries 0;' his neck to his leg, and waste to thighs.
Adjust their clothes, and to confession draw,
Those venial sins, an atom, or a straw :
But, oh! what terrors must distract the soul
Convicted of that mortal crime, a hole :
Or should one pound of powder less bespread
Those monkey-tails that wag behind their head.
Thus finish'd, and corrected to a hair,
They march, to prate their hour before the fair.
So first to preach a white-gloved chaplain goes,
With band of lily, and with cheek of rose,
Sweeter than Sharon, in immaculate trim,
Neatness itself impertinent in him.
Let but the ladies smile, and they are bless'd :
Prodigious! how the things protest ! protest !
Peace, fools, or Gonson will for papist seize you,
If once he catch you at your Jesu! Jesu!
Nature made every fop to plague his brother,
Just as one beauty mortifies another,
But here's the captain that will plague them both,
Whose air cries, Arm! whose very look 's an oath :
The captain 's honest, sirs, and that 's enough,
Though his soul's bullet, and his body buff.
So in immaculate clothes and symmetry
Perfect as circles, with such nicety
As a young preacher at his first time goes
To preach, he enters, and a lady which owes
Him not so much as good-will, he arrests,
And unto her protests, protests, protests,
So much as at Rome would serve to have thrown
Ten cardinals into the Inquisition :
And whispers by Jesu so oft, that a
Pursuevant would have ravish'd him away
For saying our lady's Psalter. But 'tis fit
That they each other plague, they merit it.
But here comes Glorious that will plague 'em bot i
Who in the other extreme only doth
Call a rough carelessness good fashion :
Whose cloak his spurs tear, or whom he spits on,
He cares not, he. His ill words do no harm
Tc him; he rushes in, as if Arm, arm,
He spits fore-right; his haughty chest before,
Like battering rams, beats open every door:
And with a face as red, and as awry,
As Herod's hangdogs in old tapestry,
Scarecrow to boys, the breeding woman's curse,
Has yet a strange ambition to look worse :
Confounds the civil, keeps the rude in awe,
Jests like a licensed fool, commands like law.
Frighted, I quit the room, but leave it so
As men from jails to execution go;
For hung with deadly sins I see the wall,
And lined with giants deadlier than them all:
Each man an Askapart, of strength to toss
For quoits, both Temple-bar and Charing-cross.
Scared at the grizly forms, I sweat, I fly,
And shake all o'er, like a discover'd spy.
Courts are too much for wits so weak as mine; Charge them with heaven's artillery, bold divine! From such alone the great rebukes endure, Whose satire 's sacred, and whose rage secure; He meant to cry: and though his face be as ill As theirs which in old hangings whip Christ, still He strives to look worse ; he keeps all in awe; Jests like a licensed fool, commands like law.
Tired, now, I leave this place, and but pleased As men from gaols to execution go, Go, through the great chamber (why is it hung With these seven deadly sins ?) being among Those Askaparts, men big enough to throw Charing-cross, for a bar, men that do know No token of worth, but queens man, and fine Living : barrels of beef, flaggons of wine, I shook like a spied spy-Preachers which are Seas of wit and art, you can, then dare, Drown the sins of this place; but as for me Which am but a scant brook, enough shall be To wash the stains away: although I yet (With Maccabees' modesty) the known merit Of my work lessen, yet some wise men shall, I hope, esteem my writs Canonical.