Satire II

Sir; though—I thanke God for it—I do hate
Perfectly all this towne, yet there’s one state
In all ill things so excellently best,
That hate, towards them, breeds pitty towards the rest.
Though Poetry indeed be such a sinne
As I thinke that brings dearths, and Spaniards in,
Though like the Pestilence and old fashion’d love,
Ridlingly it catch men; and doth remove
Never, till it be sterv’d out; yet their state
Is poore, disarm’d, like Papists, not worth hate.
One—like a wretch, which at Barre judg’d as dead,
Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot reade,
And saves his life—gives ideot actors meanes
—Starving himselfe—to live by’his labor’d sceanes;
As in some Organ, Puppits dance above
And bellows pant below, which them do move.
One would move Love by rimes; but witchcrafts charms
Bring not now their old feares, nor their old harmes:
Rammes, and slings now are seely battery,
Pistolets are the best Artillerie.
And they who write to Lords, rewards to get,
Are they not like singers at doores for meat?
And they who write, because all write, have still
That excuse for writing, and for writing ill.
But hee is worst, who (beggarly) doth chaw
Others wits fruits, and in his ravenous maw
Rankly digested, doth those things out-spue,
As his owne things; ‘and they are his owne, ’tis true,
For if one eate my meate, though it be knowne
The meate was mine, th’excrement is his owne.
But these do mee no harme, nor they which use
To out-doe Dildoes, and out-usure Jewes;
To’out-drinke the sea, to’out-sweare the Letanie;
Who with sinnes all kindes as familiar bee
As Confessors; and for whose sinfull sake
Schoolemen new tenements in hell must make:
Whose strange sinnes, Canonists could hardly tell
In which Commandements large receit they dwell.
But these punish themselves; the insolence
Of Coscus onely breeds my just offence,
Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches pox,
And plodding on, must make a calfe an ox—
Hath made a lawyer, which was alas of late
But a scarce poet; jollier of this state,
Than are new beneficed ministers, he throws
Like nets, or lime-twigs, wheresoe’er he goes,
His title of barrister, on every wench,
And woos in language of the Pleas, and Bench:
” A motion, Lady”; ” Speak Coscus”; ” I have been
In love, ever since tricesimo of the Queen,
Continual claims I have made, injunctions got
To stay my rival’s suit, that he should not
Proceed”; ” Spare me”; ” In Hilary term I went,
You said, if I returned next ‘size in Lent,
I should be in remitter of your grace;
In th’ interim my letters should take place
Of affidavits”; words, words, which would tear
The tender labyrinth of a soft maid’s ear,
More, more, than ten Sclavonians scolding, more
Than when winds in our ruined abbeys roar.
When sick with poetry, and possessed with Muse
Thou wast, and mad, I hoped; but men which choose
Law practice for mere gain, bold soul, repute
Worse than embrothelled strumpets prostitute.
Now like an owl-like watchman, he must walk
His hand still at a bill, now he must talk
Idly, like prisoners, which whole months will swear
That only suretyship hath brought them there,
And to every suitor lie in everything,
Like a king’s favourite, yea like a king;
Like a wedge in a block, wring to the bar,
Bearing like asses, and more shameless far
Than carted whores, lie, 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 the sea) he will compass all our land;
From Scots, to Wight; from Mount, to Dover strand.
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
(Relic-like kept) perchance buys wedding gear;
Piecemeal he gets lands, and spends as much time
Wringing each acre, as men pulling prime.
In parchments then, large as his fields, he draws
Assurances, big, as glossed 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
When Luther was professed, he did desire
Short Pater nosters , saying as a friar
Each day his beads, but having left those laws,
Adds to Christ’s prayer, the power and glory clause.
But when he sells or changes land, he impairs
His writings, and (unwatched) leaves out, ses heires,
As slily as any commenter goes by
Hard words, or sense; or in Divinity
As controverters, in vouched texts, leave out
Shrewd words, which might against them clear the doubt.
Where are those spread woods which clothed heretofore
Those bought lands? not built, nor burnt within door.
Where’s th’ old landlord’s troops, and alms? In great halls
Carthusian fasts, and fulsome bacchanals
Equally I hate; means bless; in rich men’s homes
I bid kill some beasts, but no hecatombs,
None starve, none surfeit so; but oh we allow,
Good works as good, but out of fashion now,
Like old rich wardrobes; but my words none draws
Within the vast reach of the huge statute laws.

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