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"Quid vetat et nofmet Lucili fcripta legentes.
"Quaerere, num illius, num rerum dura negarît
"Verficulos natura magis factos, et euntes
ftars! as early as I knew
This Town, I had the fense to hate it too :
Yet here, as ev'n in Hell, there must be still
One Giant-Vice, fo 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' Excise 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 difarm'd, and hardly worth your hate!
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 best,
That hate towards them, breeds pity towards the reft,
Though Poetry, indeed, be fuch 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 starv'd out; yet their state
Is poor, difarm'd, like Papifts, not worth hate.
Here a lean Bard, whose wit could never give
Himself a dinner, makes an Actor live:
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 devil, and all but gold.
These write to Lords, fome mean reward to get,
As needy beggars fing at doors for meat.
One (like a wretch, which at barre judg'd as dead, Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot read, And faves his life) gives Idiot 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
Bring not now their old fears, nor their old harms;
Rams and flings now are filly battery,
Pistolets are the best 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 fill
That 'fcufe for writing, and for writing ill.
Those write because all write, and fo have ftill
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:
Senfe, paft through him, no longer is the fame;
For food digefted takes another name.
I pafs o'er all thofe Confeffors and Martyrs,
Who live like S-tt-n, or who die like Chartres,
Outcant old Efdras, or outdrink his heir,
Outufure Jews, or Irishmen outfwear;
Wicked as Pages, who in early years
A&t fins which Prifca's Confeffor fcarce hears.
Ev'n thofe I pardon, for whofe finful fake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell muft make;
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw
Others wits fruits, and in his ravenous maw
Rankly digefted, doth thofe things outfpue,
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 thefe do me no harm, nor they which use,
to outufure Jews,
To outdrink the fea, t' outfwear the Letanie,,
Who with fins all kinds as familiar be
As Confeffors, and for whose finful fake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make
Of whofe ftrange crimes no Canonift can tell
In what Commandment's large contents they dwell.
One, one man only breeds my just offence;
Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave Impudence:
Time, that at laft matures a clap to pox,
Whofe gentle progrefs makes a calf an ox,
And brings all natural events to pafs,
Hath made him an Attorney of an Afs.
No young divine, new-benefic'd, can be
More pert, more proud, more pofitive, than he.
What further could I with the fop to do,
But turn a wit, and fcribble verses too?
Pierce the foft 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,
Like nets or lime-twigs, for rich Widows hearts;
Call himself Barrister to every wench,
And wooe in language of the Pleas and Bench?
Whofe ftrange fins Canonifts could hardly tell
In which Commandment's large receit they dwell.
But these punish themfelves. The infolence
Of Cofcus, only, breeds my juft offence,
Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches pox,
And plodding on, must make a calf an ox)
Hath made a Lawyer; which (alas) of late;
But scarce a Poet: jollier of this state,
Than are new-benefic'd Minifters, he throws
Like nets or lime-twigs wherefoe'er he goes