SIR, though (I thank God for it) I do hate

Perfectly all this town; yet there's one state In all ill things, so excellently best, That hate towards them, breeds pity towards the rest. Though poetry, indeed, be such a sin, As, I think, that brings dearth and Spaniards in : Though like the pestilence, and old-fashion'd love, Ridlingly it catch men, and doth remove Never, till it be starv'd out; yet their state Is poor, 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 read, And saves his life) gives idiot actors means, (Starving himself,) to live by's labour'd scenes. As in some organs, puppits dance above, And bellows pant below, which them do move. One would move love by rhymes ; but witchcraft's

charms Bring not now their old fears, nor their old harms :



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YES; thank my stars ! as early as I knew

This town, I had the sense to hate it too :
Yet here, as ev'n in hell, there must be still
One giant-vice, so excellently ill,
That all beside, one pities, not abhors;

5 As who knows Sappho, smiles at other whores.

I grant that poetry's a crying sin;
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 starving, all allow.
Yet like the Papist's, is the poet's state,
Poor and disarm'd, and hardly worth your 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 saves a rogue who cannot read.
Thus as the pipes of some carv'd organ move,
The gilded puppets dance and mount above.
Heav'd by the breath, th' inspiring bellows blow :
Th' inspiring bellows lie and pant below.

One sings the fair ; but songs no longer move ; No rat is rhym'd to death, nor maid to love :



Rams and slings now are silly battery,
Pistolets are the best artillery.
And they who write to lords, rewards to get,
Are they not like singers at doors for meat ?
And they who write, because all write, have still
That 'scuse for writing, and for writing ill.

But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw
Others wits fruits, and in his ravenous maw
Rankly digested, doth these things out-spue,
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 these do me no harm, nor they which use,

to out-usure Jews,
T' out-drink the sea, tout-sweare the Letanie,
Who with sins 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 receit they dwell.

But these punish themselves. The insolence
Of Coscus, only, breeds my just offence,
Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches

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,




In love's, in nature's spite, the siege they hold,
And scorn the flesh, the devil, and all but gold.

These write to lords, some mean reward to get,
As needy beggars sing at doors for meat.

26 Those write because all write, and so have still Excuse for writing, and for writing ill.

Wretched indeed! but far more wretched yet Is he who makes his meal on others wit :

30 'Tis chang'd, no doubt, from what it was before, His rank digestion makes it wit no more : Sense, past through him, no longer is the same ; For food digested takes another name.

I pass o'er all those confessors and martyrs 35 Who live like S-tt-n, or who die like Chartres, Out-cant old Esdras, or out-drink his heir, Out-usure Jews, or Irishmen out-swear; Wicked as pages, who in early years Act sins which Prisca's confessor scarce hears. 40 Ev'n 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 ; 45 Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave impuTime, 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,

50 No

Than are new-benefic'd ministers, he throws,
Like nets or lime-twigs, wheresoe'er he goes
His title of barrister on ev'ry wench,
And wooes 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 abbyes roar.
Then sick with poetry, and possest with muse
Thou wast, and mad I hop’d; but men which chuse
Law practice for mere gain; bold soul repute
Worse than imbrothel'd 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 ev'ry suitor lye in every thing,
Like a king's favourite ---or like a king.


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