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They haunt the tided Thames and salt Medway, When he conceives upon his faigned stage
Such soon as some brave-minded hungry youth
With high-set steps, and princely carriage,
Now soouping in side robes of royalty,
That erst did skrub in lowsy brokery,
There if he can with terms Italianate
Big-sounding sentences, and words of state,
Fair patch me up his pure iambic verse,
He ravishes the gazing scaffolders:
Then certes was the famous Corduban'
Never but half so high tragedian. From out the fertile hoof of winged steed:
Now, lest such frightful shows of Fortune's fall, There did they sit and do their holy deed, That pleas'd both Heav'n and Earth-till that of late
And bloody tyrant's rage, should chance apall Whom should I fault? or the most righteous fate,
The dead-struck audience, 'midst the silent rout,
Comes leaping in a self-misformed lout,
And laughs, and grins, and frames his mimic face, Some of the sisters in securer shades
And justles straight into the prince's place; Defloured were......
Then doth the theatre echo all aloud, And ever since, disdaining sacred shame,
With gladsome noise of that applauding crowd. Done ought that might their heav'nly stock defame. A goodly hotch-potch! when vile russetings
Are match'd with monarchs, and with mighty kings. Now is Parnassus turned to a stewes, And on bay stocks the wanton myrtle grewes;
A goodly grace to sober tragic Muse,
When each base clown his clumbsy fist doth bruise, Cythêron hill 's become a brothrel-bed,
And show his teeth in double rotten row,
For laughter at his self-resembled show.
Meanwhile our poets in high parliament
Sit watching every word and gesturement,
, their late whoredoms meed: Like curious censors of some doughty gear, And where they wont sip of the simple flood,
Whispering their verdict in their fellow's ear. Now toss they bowls of Bacchus' boiling blood.
Woe to the word whose margent in their scrole I marvell'd much, with doubtful jealousie,
Is noted with a black condemning coal. Whence came such litters of new poetrie:
But if each period might the synod please, Methought I fear'd, lest the horse-hoofed well
bring the ivy boughs, and bands of bays. His native banks did proudly over-swell
Now when they part and leave the naked stage,
Gins the bare hearer, in a guilty rage,
To curse and ban, and blame his likerous eye,
That thus hath lavish'd his late half-penny.
Shame that the Muses should be bought and sold,
Too popular is tragic poesie,
Straining his tip-toes for a farthing fee,
And doth beside on rhymeless numbers tread;
Unbid iambics flow from careless head. With some pot-fury, ravish'd from their wit, Some braver brain in higb heroic rhymes They sit and muse on some no-vulgar writ:
Compileth worm-eat stories of old times : As frozen dung-hills in a winter's morn,
And he like some imperious Maronist,
Conjures the Muses that they him assist.
And maketh up his hard-betaken tale (vale, Soon as the raging wine begins to reign.
With strange enchantments, fetch'd from darksom One higher pitch'd doth set his soaring thought Of some Melissa “, that by magic doom On crowned kings, that Fortune hath low brought: To Tuscans soil transporteth Merlin's tomb. Or some upreared, high-aspiring swaine,
Painters and poets hold your auncient right: As it might be the Turkish Tamberlaine:
Write what you will, and write not what you might : Then weeneth he his base drink-drowned spright, Their limits be their list, their reason will. Rapt to the threefold loft of Heaven hight, But if some painter, in presuming skill,
? See Spenser.
Should paint the stars in center of the Earth, Then pours he forth in patched sonettings, Could ye forbear some smiles, and taunting mirth? His love, his lust, and loathsome flatterings: But let no rebel satyr dare traduce
As though the staring world hang'd on his sleeve, Th’ eternal legends of thy faerie Muse,
When once he smiles, to laugh: and when he sighs, Renowned Spencer: whom no earthly wight
to grieve. Dares once to emulate, much less dares despight. Careth the world, thou love, thou live, or die ? Salust of France, and Tuscan Ariost,
Careth the world how fair thy fair-one be? Yield up the lawrel garland ye have lost:
Fond wit-wal that wouldst load thy witless head And let all others willow wear with me,
With timely horus, before thy bridal bed.
Lady and queen, and virgin deify'd :
And though she be some dunghill drudge at home,
Yet can he her resign some refuse room ANOTHER, whose more heavy hearted saint
Amidst the well known stars: or if not there, Delights in nought but notes of rueful plaint,
Sure will he saint her in his Kalendere.
HENCE, ye profane! mell not with holy things Then must he ban the guiltless fates above,
That Sion's Muse from Palestina brings,
Parnassus is transform'd to Sion Hill,
And iv'ry-palms her steep ascents done fill.
Now good St. Peter 6 weeps pure Helicon, Without one penny to pay Charon's hire,
And both the Maries make a music moan:
Yea, and the prophet of the heav'nly lyre,
Singing his love, the holy spouse of Christ:
Like as she were some light-skirts of the rest,
Io mightiest inkhornisms he can thither wrest, ANOTHER Scorns the home-spun thread of rhymes, Ye Sion Muses shall by my dear will, Match'd with the lofty feet of elder times : For this your zeal and far-admired skill, Give me the numbred verse that Virgil sung, Be straight transported from Jerusalem,
And Virgil's self shall speak the English tongue: Unto the holy house of Bethlehem. * Manhood and garbuiles shall be chaunt with chaung
Envy, ye Muses, at your thriving mate,
Cupid hath crowned a new laureat: The breathless dactyls with a sudden stay.
I saw his statue gayly 'tir'd in green, Whoever saw a colt wanton and wild,
As if he had some second Phoebus been. Yok'd with a slow-foot ox on fallow field,
His statue trimm'd with the venerean tree, Can right areed how handsomely besets
And shrined fair within your sanctuary. Dull spondees with the English dactylets.
What, he, that erst to gain the rhyming goal, If Jove speak English in a thundring cloud, The worn recital-post of capitol, “Thwick thwack," and "riffraff,” roars heout aloud. Rhymed in rules of stewish ribaldry, Fie on the forged mint that did create
Teaching experimental bawdery!
Whiles th’itching vulgar, tickled with the song,
Shall wait upon your once profaned name:
Take this, ye Muses, this so high despite,
And let all hateful luckless birds of night ; GREAT is the folly of a feeble brain,
Let screeching owls nest in your razed roofs, O'er-ruld with love, and tyrannous disdain :
And let your door with horned satyres' hoofs For love, however in the basest breast,
Be dinted, and defiled every morn: It breeds bigb thoughts that feed the fancy best,
And let your walls be an eternal scorn. Yet is he blind, and leads poor fools awry,
What if some Shoreditch fury should incite While they hang gazing on their mistress' eye. Some lust-stung lecher : must he needs indite The love-sick poet, whose importune prayer
The beastly rites of hired venery, Repulsed is with resolute despair,
The whole world's universal bawd to be? Hopeth to conquer his disdainful dame,
Did never yet no damned libertine, With public plajuts of his conceived flame Nor elder heathen, nor new Florentine',
6 Robert Southwell's St. Peter's Complaint. · Dubartas.
? Peter Aretine.
Though they were famous for lewd liberty, Reade in each schoole, in everie margent quoted, Venture upon so shameful villany ;
In everie catalogue for an authour noted. Our epigrammatarians, old and late,
There 's happinesse well given and well got, Were wont be blam'd for too licentiate.
Lesse gifts, and lesser gaines, I weigh them not. Chaste men, they did but glance at Lesbia's deed, So may the giant roam and write on high, And handsomely leave off with eleanly speed. Be he a dwarfe that writes not their as I. But arts of whoring, stories of the stews,
But well fare Strabo, which, as stories tell, Ye Muses will ye bear, and may refuse?
Contriv'd all Troy within one walnut shell. Nay, let the Devil and St. Valentine
His curious ghost now lately bither came;
Arriving neere the mouth of luckie Tame,
Such one was once, or once I was mistaught,
A smith at Vulcan's owné forge up brought,
That made an iron chariot so light,
The coach-horse was a flea in trappings dight.
Strive they, laugh we: 'meane while the black storie
Passes new Strabo, and new Strabo's Troy.
Little for great; and great for good; all one: Or been the manes of that Cynic spright,
For shame! or better write, or Labeo write none. Cloath'd with some stubborn clay, and led to light? But who conjur'd this bawdie Poggie's ghost, Or do the relic ashes of his grave
From out the stewes of his lewde home-bred coast : Revive and rise from their forsaken cave? Or wicked Rablais dronken revellings, That so with gall-wet words and speeches rude To grace the mis-rule of our tavernings? Controuls the manners of the multitude.
Or who put bayes into blind Cupid's fist, Envy belike incites his pining heart,
That he should crown what laureats him list? And bids it sate itself with others smart.
Whose words are those, to remedie the deed, Nay, no despight: but angry Nemesis,
That cause men stop their noses when they read? Whose scourge doth follow all that done amiss : Both good things ill, and ill things well; all one That scourge I bear, albe in ruder fist,
Por shame! write cleanly, Labeo, or write none. And wound, and strike, and pardon whom she list.
Erect of old these stately piles of ours?
For thread-bare clerks, and for the ragged Muse, Thence to abjure his handsome drinking bowl; Whom better fit some cotes of sad secluse? Because the thirstie swaine with hollow hand, Blush, niggard Agq, and be asham'd to see Conveied the streame to wcet his drie weasand. These monuments of wiser ancestrie. Write they that can, though they thal cannot doe : And ye faire heapes, the Muses sacred shrines, But who knowes that, but they that do not know. (In spite of time and envious repines) Lo! what it is that makes white rags so deare, Stand still and flourish till the world's last day, That men must give a tęston for a queare. Upbraiding it with former love's decay. Lo! what it is that makes goose wings so scant, Here may you, Muses, our deare soveraignes, That the distressed sempster did them want: Scorne each base lordling ever you disdaines; So lavish ope-tyde causeth fasting lents,
And every peasant churle, whose smokie roofe And starveling famine comes of large expense. Denied harbour for your deare behoofe. Might not (so they were pleas'd that beene above) Scorne ye the world before it do complaine, Long paper-abstinence our death remove?
And score the world that scorneth you againe. Then manie a Lollerd would in forfaitment, And scorpe contempt itselfe that doth incite Beare paper-faggots o'er the pavement.
Each single-sold 'squire to set you at so light. But now men wager who shall blot the most, What needes me care for anie bookish skill, And each man writes. There's so much labour lost, To blot white papers with my restlesse quill: That's good, that's great: nay much is seldume well, Or pore on painted leaves, or beat my braine Of what is liad, a little 's a greate deale.
With far-fetch thought; or to consume in vaine Better is more: but best is nought at all.
In latter even, or midst of winter nights, Lesse is the next, and lesser criminall.
Ill smelling oyles, or some still watching lights? Little and good, is greatest good save one,
Let them that meane by bookish businesse Then, Labeo, or write little, or write none.
To earne their bread, or hopen to professe Tush, but small paines can be but little art, Their hard got skill, let them alone for me, Or lode full drie-fats fro the forren mart,
Busie their braines with deeper brokerie. With folio volumes, two to an oxe hide,
Great gaines shall bide you sure, when ye have spent Or else ye pamphleteer go stand aside ;
A thousand lamps, and thousand reames have rent
Of needless papers ; and a thousand nights Tells on his tale as smoothly as him list,
If that seem lined with a larger fee,
Doubt not the suite, the law is plaine for thee.
Unto the hopefull sheepe, that faine would hide
His fleecie coate from that same angry tide: To first-borne males, so list the law to grace, The ruthlesse breere, regardlesse of his plight, Nature's first fruits in an eternal race?
Laies holde upon the fleece be should acquite, Let second brothers, and poore nestlings,
And takes advantage of the carelesse prey, Whom more injurious nature later brings
That thought she in securer shelter lay. Into the naked world; let them assaine
The day is faire, the sheepe would far to feede,
And claimes it for the fee of his defence:
Whose help doth sweetest life and health uphold;
Fees never lesse, never so little gaine,
Groats-worth of health can anie leech allot? Than paunched with thy choyce of changed fares. Yet should he have no more that gives a groate. Or doth thy glorie stand in outward glee?
Should I on each sicke pillow leane my brest, A lave-ear'd asse with gold may trapped be. And grope the pulse of everie mangie wrest; Or if in pleasure ? live we as we may,
And spie out marvels in each urinall;
And rumble up the filths that from them fall;
All for so leane reward of art and me?
No horse-leach but will looke for larger fee.
Meane while if chaunce some desp'rate patient die, Who doubts? the laws fell down from Heaven's Com'n to the period of his destinie: height,
(As who can crosse the fatall resolution, Like to some gliding starre in winter's night? In the decreed day of dissolution :) Themis, the scribe of God, did long agone
Whether ill tendment, or recurelesse paine,
Th' unskilfull leech murdered his patient,
Hereon the vulgar may as soone be brought
If nor a dramme of triacle soveraigne,
Or aqua vitæ, or sugar candian,
Nor kitchin-cordials can it remedie,
Were I a leech, as who knowes what may be,
The liberal man should live, and carle should die. 'T was truely said, and truely was foreseene The sickly ladie, and the gowtie peere The fat kine are devoured of the leane.
Still would I haunt, that love their life so deare.
That spent is counted gaine, and spared, losse :
Rise from his horsedung bed, and upwards flie;
Purchaseth realmes, and life prolonged brings.
His feare or hope, for plentie or for lacke,
Hangs all upon his new-year's almanack.
If chance once in the spring his head should ake,
Twelve goodly innes they are, with twelve fayre And wed and bury, and make christen-soules?
Ever well tended by our star-divines. [signes, Come to the left-side alley of Saint Poules. Everie man's head innes at the horped Ramme, Thou servile foole, why could'st thou not repaire The while the necke the black Bull's guest became, To buy a benefice at steeple-faire ?
Th’arms, by good hap, meet at the wrastling Twins, There moughtest thou, for but a slender price,
Th' heart in the way, at the blue Lion innes.
The leggs their lodging in Aquarius got;
That is the Bride-streete of the Heaven I wot.
But who with Scorpio lodg'd may not be told.
What office then doth the star-gazer beare?
Or let him be the Heaven's ostelere,
Or tapsters some, or some be chamberlaines,
To waite upon the guests they entertaine.
Hence can they reade, by virtue of their trade,
When any thing is mist, where it was laide.
Hence they divine, and hence they can devise,
Thus learn'd I by the signes his griefe remove:
In the blinde Archer first I saw the signe,
When thou receiv'dst that wilful wound of thine;
And now in Virgo is that cruel mayde,
Which hath not yet with love thy love repaide.
But marke when once it comes to Gemini,
Straightway fish-whole shall thy sicke-liver be.
But now (as th' angrie Heavens seeme to threat
Manie hard fortunes, and disastres great)
If chance it come to wanton Capricorne,
And so into the Ram's disgraceful horne,
Then learne thou of the ugly Scorpion,
To hate her for her fowle abusion:
Thy refuge then the balance be of right,
Which shall thee from thy broken bond acquite:
From thy first match, and live a single man.
Thy cursed head thus long, that so it mist