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Piece-meal they win this acre first, then that,
Glean on, and gather up the whole estate ;
Then strongly fencing ill-got wealth by law,
Indentures, cov'nants, articles, they draw,
Large as the fields themselves, and larger far 95
Than civil codes, with all their glosses, are ;
So vast, our new divines, we must confess,
Are fathers of the church for writiug less.
But let them write, for you each rogue impairs
The deeds, and dex'trously omits ses heires: 100
No commentator can more slily pass
O'er a learn’d unintelligible place ;
Or in quotation shrewd divines leave out
Those words that would against them clear the doubt.
For as a thrifty wench scrapes kitchen stuff,
And barrelling the droppings and the snuff
Of wasting candles, which in thirty year,
(Reliquely kept) perchance buys wedding chear;
Piece-ineal he gets lands, and spends as much time
Wringing each acre as maids pulling prime.
In parchment then, large as the fields he draws
Assurances big as gloss'd civil laws;
So huge, that men (in our time's forwardness)
Are fathers of the church for writing less.
These he writes not, nor for these written pays,
Therefore spares no length; (as in those first days)
So Luther thought the Pater-noster long, 105 When doom'd to say his beads and even song; But having cast his cowl, and left those laws, Adds to Christ's pray'r the Pow'r and Glory clause.
The lands are bought; but where are to be found Those ancient woods that shaded all the ground ? 110 We see no new built palaces aspire, No kitchens emulate the Vestal fire. Where are those troops of poor that throng'd of yore The good old landlord's hospitable door? Well, I could wish that still in lordly domes, 115 Some beasts were kill'd, tho' not whole hecatombs ; That both extremes were banish'd from their walls, Carthusian fasts and fulsome Bacchanals;
When Luther was profest, he did desire
Short Pater-nosters, saying as a fryer
Each day his beads; but having left those laws,
Adds to Christ's pray'r the Power and Glory clause;
But when he sells or changes land, h’ impairs
His writings, and (unwatch'd) leaves out ses heires,
And slily, as any commentator, goes by
Hard words or sense; or in divinity
As controverters in vouch'd texts leave out
Shrewd words, which might against them clear the
And all mankind might that just mean observe,
In which none e'er could surfeit, none could starve.
These are good works, 'tis true, we all allow, 121
But, oh! these works are not in fashion now:
Like rich old wardrobes, things extremely rare,
Extremely fine, but what no man will wear.
Thus much I've said, I trust without offence; 125
Let no court sycophant pervert my sense,
Nor sly informer watch, these words to draw
Within the reach of treason or the law.
Where are those spread woods which cloath'd here
tofore Those bought lands? not built, nor burnt within door. Where the old landlord's troops and alms ? In halls Carthusian fasts and fulsome Bacchanals Equally I hate. Means blest. In rich men's homes I bid kill some beasts, but no hecatombs ; None starve, none surfeit so. But (oh!) w' allow Good works as good, but out of fashion now, Like old rich wardrobes. But my words none draws Within the vast reach of th' huge statute-laws.
WELL; if it be my time to quit the stage,
Adieu to all the follies of the age !
I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my purgatory here betimes,
And paid for all my satires, all my rhymes.
The poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys, and empty names.
With foolish pride my heart was never fir'd,
Nor the vain itch t'admire or be admir'd; 10
I hop'd for no commission from his Grace;
I bought no benefice, I begg'd no place;
Had no new verses nor new suit to show,
Yet went to court!....the devil wonld have it so.
WELL; I may now receive and die. My sin
Indeed is great, but yet I have been in
A purgatory, such as feard hell is
A recreation, and scant map of this.
My mind neither with pride's itch, nor yet hath been
Poison'd with love to see or to be seen.
I had no suit there, nor new suit to show,
Yet went to court: but as Glare, which did go
But as the fool that in reforming days
Would go to mass in jest, (as story says)
Could not but think to pay his fine was odd,
Since 't was no form'd design of serving God,
So was I punish'd, as if full as proud,
As prone to ill, and negligent of good,
As deep in debt, without a thought to pay,
As vain, as idle, and as false, as they
Who live at court, for going once that way
y! Scarce was I enter'd, when, behold! there came A thing which Adam had been pos'd to name;
25 Noah had refus'd it lodging in his ark, Where all the race of reptiles might embark:
To mass in jest, catch'd, was fain to disburse
The hundred marks, which is the statute's curse,
Before he 'scap'd; so 't pleas'd my destiny
(Guilty of my sin of going) to think me
As prone to all ill, and of good as forget-
Ful, as proud, lustful, and as much in debt,
As vain, as witless, and as false as they
Which dwell in court, for once going that way,
Therefore I suffer'd this. Towards me did run
A thing more strange than on Nile's slime the sun
E’er bred, or all which into Noah's ark came;
A thing which would have pos'd Adam to name :