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Or filch whole pages at a clap, for need,
From honest Petrarch, clad in English weed;
While big But Oh's! ech stanza can begin,
Whose trunke and tayle sluttish and hartlesse bin.
He knows the grace of that new elegance",
Which sweet Philisides fetch't of late from France;
That well beseem'd his high-stil'd Arcady,
Tho' others marre it with much liberty,
In epithets to joyne two wordes in one
Forsooth, for adjectives cannot stand alone :
As a great poet could of Bacchus say,
That he was Semele-femori-gena.

Lastly he names the spirit of Astrophell".
Now hath not Labeo done wondrous well?
But ere his Muse her weapon learne to weild,
Or dance a sober Pirrhicke in the field",
Or marching wade in blood up to the knees,
Her Arma Virum goes by two degrees.
The shepe-cote first hath bene her nursery,
Where she hath worne her ydle infancy;
And, in hy startups ", walk't the pastur❜d plaines,
To tend her tasked heard that there remaines;
And winded still a pipe of ote or brere,
Striving for wages who the praise shall beare;
As did whilere the homely Carmelite,
Following Virgil, and he Theocrite si;
Or else hath bene in Venus' chamber traind
To play with Cupid, till shee had attain'd
To comment well upon a beauteous face,
Then was she fitt for a heroicke place.

"He knows the grace of that new elegance,

&c. &c.

About this time compound epithets were introduced into our poetry. Spencer had been beforehand in complaining of the abuses here noticed. See Teares of the Muses, 553. E.

Lastly he names the spirit of Astrophell.

Astrophel was the name by which Spencer distinguished Sir Phillip Sidney; on whom he has left a Pastoral Elegy, under this title.

49 Or dance a sober Pirrhicke in the field.

The Pyrrhic Dance, performed in armour.



startups some kind of country furniture for the feet, which I have not

been able to trace in the old Dictionaries.

"As did whilere the homely Carmelite,

Following Virgil, and he Theocrite.

By the homely Carmelite we are, doubtless, to understand Baptista Mantuan, who lived at the close of the xvth and the beginning of the xvith century. E. Whilere means a little time ago. See Note 1, to the "Defiance to Envy".

As wittie Pontan 52, in great earnest, saed,
His mistres' breasts were like two weights of lead.
Another thinks her teeth might liken'd bee
To two fayre rankes of pales of yvorie;
To fence in, sure, the wild beast of her tongue,
From eyther going farre, or going wrong:
Her grinders like two chalk-stones in a mill,
Which shall with time and wearing wax as ill
As old Catillae's, which wont every night
Lay up her holy pegs till next day-light,
And with them grinds soft-simpring all the day ",
When, least her laughter should her gums bewray,
Her hands must hide her mouth if she but smile;
Fayne would she seeme all frixe and frolicke still.
Her forehead fayre is like a brazen hill,


Whose wrinckled furrows, which her age doth breed,
Are dawbed full of Venice chalke for need.
Her eyes like silver saucers, fayre beset

With shining amber, and with shady jet:

Her lids like Cupid's-bowcase, where he hides

The weapons that doth wound the wanton-eyde.

Her chin like Pindus, or Pernassus hill,

Where down descends th' oreflowing stream doth fil 54
The well of her fayre mouth.-Ech hath his praise.
Who would not but wed poets now a daies!

62 As wittie Pontan

John Jovianus Pontanus, whose poetry, chiefly hendecasyllabic, was often luxuriantly amorous. See his Works, printed at Hamburgh, 1515.

"And with them grinds soft-simpring all the day.

See Note 22, on Book iv. Sat. 1.

"Where down descends th' oreflowing stream doth fil— The relative is omitted-that doth fill.




IT is not for every one to relish a true and natural Satire: being, of itself, besides the nature and inbred bitterness and tartness of particulars, both hard of conceit and harsh of style; and, therefore, cannot but be unpleasing both to the unskilful and over musical ear: the one being affected with only a shallow and easy matter; the other, with a smooth and current disposition. So that I well foresee, in the timely publication of these my concealed satires, I am set upon the rack of many merciless and peremptory censures; which, since the calmest and most plausible writer is almost fatally subject unto, in the curiosity of these nicer times, how may I hope to be exempted upon the occasion of so busy and stirring a subject? One thinks it mis-beseeming the author; because a poem: another, unlawful in itself; because a satire: a third, harmful to others; for the sharpness and a fourth, unsatire-like; for the mildness: the learned, too perspicuous; being named with Juvenal, Persius, and the other antient satires: the unlearned, savourless; because too obscure, and obscure because not under their reach. What a monster must he be, that would please all!

Certainly, look what weather it would be, if every almanack should be verified: much-what like poems, if every fancy should be suited. It is not for this kind to desire or hope to please, which naturally should only find pleasure in displeasing notwith-, standing, if the fault-finding with the vices of the time may honestly accord with the good will of the parties, I had as lieve ease myself with a slender apology, as wilfully bear the brunt of causeless anger in my silence.

For Poetry itself, after the so effectual and absolute endeavours of her honoured patrons, either she needed no new defence, or else might well scorn the offer of so impotent and poor a client. Only, for my own part, though were she a more unworthy mistress, I think she might be inoffensively served with the broken messes of our twelve o'clock hours, which homely service she only claimed and found of me, for that short while of my attendance; yet, having thus soon taken my solemn farewell of her, and shaked hands with all her retinue, why should it be an eye-sore unto any, since it can be no loss to myself?

For my Satires themselves, I see two obvious cavils to be answered.

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One, concerning the matter: than which, I confess, none can be more open to danger, to envy; since faults loath nothing more than the light, and men love nothing more than their faults: and, therefore, what through the nature of the faults and fault of the persons, it is impossible so violent an appeachment should be quietly brooked. But why should vices be unblamed, for fear of blame? And, if thou mayst spit upon a toad unvenomed, why mayst thou not speak of a vice without danger? Especially so warily as I have endeavoured: who, in the unpartial mention of so many vices, may safely profess to be altogether guiltless in myself to the intention of any guilty person who might be blemished by the likelihood of my conceived application; thereupon choosing rather to mar mine own verse than another's name: which notwithstanding, if the injurious reader shall wrest to his own spite, and disparaging of others, it is a short answer, "Art thou guilty?" Complain not thou art not wronged. "Art thou guiltless?" Complain not: thou art not touched.

The other, concerning the manner: wherein, perhaps, too much stooping to the low reach of the vulgar, I shall be thought not to have any whit kindly raught my ancient Roman predecessors, whom, in the want of more late and familiar precedents, I am constrained thus far off to imitate: which thing I can be so willing to grant, that I am further ready to warrant my action therein to any indifferent censure.


First, therefore, I dare boldly avouch, that the English is not altogether so natural to a satire as the Latin: which I do not impute to the nature of the language itself, being so far from disabling it any way, that methinks I durst equal it to the proudest in every respect; but to that which is common to it with all other common languages, Italian, French, German, &c. In their poesies the fettering together the series of the verses, with the bonds of like cadence or desinence of rhyme, which if it be usually abrupt, and not dependent in sense upon so near affinity of words, I know not what a loathsome kind of harshness and discordance it breedeth to any judicial ear: which if any more confident adversary shall gainsay, I wish no better trial than the translation of one of Persius's Satires into English; the difficulty and dissonance whereof shall make good my assertion. Besides, the plain experience thereof in the Satires of Ariosto, (save which, and one base French satire, I could never attain the view of any for my direction, and that also might for need serve for an excuse at least) whose chain verse, to which he fettereth himself, as it may well afford a pleasing harmony to the ear, so can it yield nothing but a flashy and loose conceit to the judgment. Whereas, the Roman numbers, tying but one foot to another, offereth a greater freedom of variety, with much more delight to the reader.

Let my second ground be, the well-known daintiness of the

1 The edition of 1599, followed by the Oxford, reads unusually. I have restored the reading of the first edition. EDITOR,

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