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Wicked as pages, who in early years
Act sins which Prisca's confessor scarce hears.
Evin those I pardon, for whose sinful sake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make ;
Of whose strange crimes no canonist 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 impu.
Time, that at last matures a clap to pox, (dence :
Whose gentle progress makes a calf an ox,
And brings all natural events to pass,
Hath made him an Attorney of an Ass.
No young divine, new benefic'd, can be
More pert, more proud, more positive, than he.
Tout-drink the sea, e out-swear the Litany,
Who with sins of all kinds as familiar be
As confessors, and for whose sinful sake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make ;
Whose strange sins canonists could hardly tell,
In which commandment's large receipt they dwell.
But these punish themselves. The insolence
Of Coscus only breeds my just 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 ministers; he throws,
Like nets, or lime-twigs, wheresoc'er he goes,
What further could I wish the fop to do
But turn a wit, and scribble verses too?
Pierce the soft lab'rinth 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;
Calls himself barrister to ev'ry wench,
And woos in language of the Pleas and Bench ?
Language which Boreas might to Auster hold,
More rough than forty Germans when they scold.
Curs'd be the wretch, so venal, and so vain,
Paltry and proud as drabs in Drury-Lane.
'Tis such a bounty as was never known,
If Peter deigns to help you to your own:
What ibanks, what praise, if Peter but supplies! -
And what a solemn face, if he denies !
His title of Barrister on ev'ry wench,
And woos 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 scolding, more
Than when winds in our ruin'd abbeys roar.
Then sick with poetry, and possess’d with Muse
Thou wast, and mad, i hop'd ; but men which chuse
Law-practice for mere gain, bold souls repute
Worse than imbrothell'd strumpets prostitute. .
Now, like an owl-like watchman, he must walk,
His hand still at a bill; now he must talk
Grave, as when pris’ners shake the head, and swear
'Twas only suretyship that brought 'em there.
His office keeps your parchment fates entire, i
He starves with cold to save them from the fire ;
For you he walks the streets, through rain, or dust,
For not in chariots Peter puts his trust;
For you he sweats and labors at the laws,
Takes God to witness he affects your cause,
And lies to ev'ry lord, in ev'ry thing,
Like a king's favorite or like a king.
These are the talents that adorn them all,
From wicked Waters ev'n to godly**
Not more of Simony beneath black gowns,
Not more of bastardy in heirs to crowns.
In shillings, and in pence, at first they deal,
And steal so little, few perceive they steal;
Till like the sea, they compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover Strand :
Idly, like prisoners, which whole months will swear,
That only suretyship hath brought them there,
And to every suitor lie in ev'ry thing,
Like a king's favorite, or like a king :
Like a wedge in a block-wring to the bar,
Bearing like asses, and more shameless far
Than casted whores, lye to the grave judge; for
Bastardy abounds not in kings' titles, nor
Simony and Sodomy in churchmen's lives,
As these things do in him ; by these he thrives,
Shortly (as th' sea) he'll compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover Strand:
And when rank widows purchase luscious nights,
Or when a duke to Janssen punts at White's,
Or city-heir in mortgage melts away,
Satan himself feels far less joy than they
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
Than Civil codes, with all their glosses, are;
So vast, our new divines, we must confess,
Are fathers of the church for writing less.
But let them write for you, each rogue impairs
The deeds, and dex'trously omits, ses heires :
And spying heirs melting with luxury,
Satan will not joy at their sins as he :
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 cheer)
Piece-meal he gets lands, and spends as much time
Wringing each acre as maids pulling prime.
In parchment then, large as the fields, he draws
Assurance 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 Ao length (as in those first days
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
So Luther thought the Pater-noster long, [doubt.
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 ?
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,
Some beasts were kill'd, though not whole hecatombs;
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 commenter, 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
[tofore. Where are those spread woods which cloth'd hereThose bought lands ? not built, nor burnt within door.