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pass o'er all those confessors and martyrs, 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. E’en 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,
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-beneficed, can be
More pert, more proud more positive than he.
What further could I wish the fop to do,
But turn a wit, and scribble verses too?
Pierce the soft labyrinth of a lady's ear
With rhymes of this per cent, and that per year ?
But these do me no harm, nor they which use,
to out-usure Jews, To out-drink the sea, t' outswear 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, Who 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 beneficed ministers, he throws Like nets or lime-twigs whereso'er he goes
Or court a wife, spread out his wily pants,
Like nets, or lime-twigs, for rich widows' hearts;
Call himself barrister to every wench,
And woo in language of the Pleas and Bench?
Language, which Boreas might to Auster hold,
More rough than forty Germans when they scold.
Cursed 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 thanks, what praise, if Peter but supplies !
And what a solemn face, if he denies !
Grave, as when prisoners shake the head and swear
'Twas only suretyship that brought them there.
His office keeps your parchment fates entire,
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 labours at the laws,
Takes God to witness he affects your cause,
And lies to every lord in every thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.
His title of barrister on every 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 abbeys roar.
Then sick with poetry, and possess'd with muse
Thou wast, and mad I hoped; but men which chusa
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 gwear,
That only suretiship had brought them there,
And to every suitor lye in every thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.
These are the talents that adorn them all, From wicked Waters c'en 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. And when rank widows purchase luscious nights, Or when a duke to Jansen punts at White's, Or city heir in mortgage melts away, Satan himself feels far less joy than they. Piecemeal they win this acre first, then that, Glean on, and gather up the whole estate ; Then strongly fencing ill-got wealth by law, Indentures, covenants, 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,
Like a wedge in a block, wring to the barre,
Bearing like asses, and more shameless farré
Than carted whores, lye to the grave judge: for
Bastardy abounds not in king's titles, nor
Simony ard 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 spying heirs melting with luxury,
Satan will not joy at their sins as he;
For (as a thrifty wench scrapes kitchen-stuffe,
And barrelling the droppings and the snuffe
Of wasting candles, which in thirty year,
Reliquely kept, perchance buys wedding cheer)
Piecemeal he gets lands, and spends as much time
Wringing each acre, as maids pulling prime.
In parchment then, large as the fields, he draws
Assurances, big as glossd civil laws,
So huge that men (in our times forwardness)
Are fathers of the church for writing less.
So Luther thought the Pater-noster long, When doom'd to say his beads and even-song ; But having cast his cowl, and left those laws, Adds to Christ's prayer, the power and glory clause. But let them write for you, each rogue impairs The deeds, and dexterously omits ses heires : No commentator can more slily pass Over a learn'd unintelligible place: Or, in quotation, shrewd divines leave out Those words that would against them clear the
doubt, 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 That both extremes were banish'd from their walls, Carthusian fasts, and fulsome bacchanals;
These, he writes not; nor for these written payes,
Therefore spares no length (as in those first dayes
When Luther was profess'd, he did desire
Short Pater-nosters, saying as a fryer
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 impaires
The writings, and (in watch’d) leaves out ses heires,
As slily as any commentator goes by
Hard words, or sense ; or, in divinity,
As controverters in vouchi'd texts, leave out
Shrewd words, which might against them clear the
doubt. Where are these spread woods which cloathed
heretofore Thog; bought lands? not built, nor burnt within door. Whys the old landlords troops and almes? In halls Cart...gian fasts, and fulsome bacchanals
And all mankind might that just mean observe,
In which none e'er could surfeit, none could starve.
These as good works, 'tis true, we all allow,
But, oh! these works are not in fashion now
Like rich old wardrobes, things extremely rare,
Extremely fine, but what no man will wear.
Thus much I've said, I trust, without offence;
Let no court sycophant pervert my sense,
Nor sly informer watch these words to draw
Vithin the reach of treason, or the law.
Well, if it be my time to quit the stage,
À dieu to all the follies of the age!
I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my purgatory here betimes,
And paid for all my satires, all my rhymes.
*The poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys, and empty names.
With foolish pride my heart was never fired,
Nor the vain itch to admire, or be admired:
I hoped for no commission from his grace;
I bought no benefice, I begg'd no place :
Equally I hate. Means bless'd. 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 wordy none draws
Within the vast reach of the huge statute's jawos.
WELL; I may now receive, and die. My sin
Indeed is great ; but yet I have been in
A purgatory, such as fear'd Hell is
A recreation, and scant map of this.
My mind, neither with pride's itch, nor hath been Poyson'd with love to see or to be seen;