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And get, by speaking truth of monarchs dead,
What few can of the living, ease and bread.'
• Lord, sir, a mere mechanic! strangely low,
And coarse of phrase; your English all are so :
How elegant your Frenchmen!—Mine, d'ye

mean?
I have but one ; I hope the fellow's clean.'
“O, sir, politely so ! nay, let me die,
Your only wearing is your Padua-soy.'
• Not, sir, my only; I have better still,
And this you see is but my deshabille
Wild to get loose, his patience I provoke,
Mistake, confound, object at all he spoke :
But as coarse iron, sharpen’d, mangles more,
And itch most hurts when anger'd to a sore ;
So when you plague a fool, 'tis still the curse, 120
You only make the matter worse and worse.

He pass'd it o'er ; affects an easy smile At all my peevishness, and turns his style. He asks, 'What news ? I tell him of new plays, New eunuchs, harlequins, and operas. 125 He hears; and as a still with simples in it, Between each drop it gives, stays half a minute, Loath to enrich me with too quick replies, By little and by little drops his lies : Mere household trash, of birthnights, balls, and shows,

130 More than ten Holinsheds, or Halls, or Stowes. When the queen frown'd or smiled he knows;

and what A subtle minister may make of that: Who sins with whom : who got his pension rug, Or quicken'd a reversion by a drug: .. 135

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Who wastes in meat, in clothes, in horse, he notes,
Who loveth whores . . . . . . .
He knows who hath sold his land, and who doth

beg
A licence, old iron, boots, shoes, and egge-
Shells to transport;

shortly boys shall not play At span-counter, or blow-point, but shall pay. Toll to some courtier; and wiser than all us, He knows what lady is not painted. Thus He with home meats cloyes me: I belch, spue,

spit,
Look pale and sickly, like a patient, yet
He thrusts on more, and as he had undertook
To say Gallo-Belgicus without book,
Speaks of all states and deeds that have been

since
The Spaniards came to the loss of Amyens.
Like a big wife, at sight of loathed meat,
Ready to travail ; so I sigh, and sweat
To hear this makaron talk : in vain, for yet,
Either my humour, or his own to fit,
He, like a priviledged spie, whom nothing can
Discredit, libels now 'gainst each great man.
He names the price of every office paid;
He saith our wars thrive ill because delaid;
That offices are intail'd, and that there are
Perpetuities of them, lasting as far
As the last day; and that great officers
Do with the Spaniards share, and Dunkirkers.

I, more amazed than Circe's prisoners, when They felt themselves turn beasts, felt myself then,

145

Whose place is quarter'd out, three parts in four;
And whether to a bishop or a whore:
Who, having lost his credit, pawn'd his rent,
Is therefore fit to have a government:
Who in the secret, deals in stocks secure, 140
And cheats the unknowing widow and the poor :
Who makes a trust of charity a job,
And gets an act of parliament to rob:
Why turnpikes rise, and now no cit nor clown
Can gratis see the country or the town:
Shortly no lad shall chuck, or lady vole,
But some excising courtier will have toll.
He tells what strumpet places sells for life,
What ’squire his lands, what citizen his wife :
And, last, which proves him wiser still than all,
What lady's face is not a whited wall. 151

As one of Woodward's patients, sick and sore, I puke, I nauseate ;-yet he thrusts in more; Trims Europe's balance, tops the statesman's

part, And talks gazettes and post-boys o'er by heart. 155 Like a big wife at sight of loathsome meat Ready to cast, I yawn, I sigh, and sweat. Then as a licensed spy, whom nothing can Silence or hurt, he libels the great man; Swears every place entail'd for years to come, 160 In sure succession to the day of doom : He names the price for every office paid, And says our wars thrive ill, because delay'd : Nay, hints ’tis by connivance of the court, That Spain robs on, and Dunkirk's still a port. 165 Not more amazement seized on Circe's guests, To see themselves fall endlong into beasts,

Becoming traytor, and methought I saw
One of our giant statutes ope his jaw, .
To suck me in for hearing him: I found,
That as burnt venomous leachers do grow sound
By giving others their sores, I might grow
Guilty, and he free : therefore I did show
All signs of loathing ; but since I am in,
I must pay mine and my forefathers' sin
To the last farthing. Therefore to my power
Toughly and stubbornly I bear; but the hour
Of mercy now was come: he tries to bring
Me to pay a fine, to 'scape a torturing,
And says, Sir, can you spare me — ?' I said,

Willingly.' • Nay, sir, can you spare me a crown?' Thank

fully. I Gave it as ransom; but as fiddlers, still, Though they be paid to be gone, yet needs will Thrust one more jig upon you; so did he With his long complimented thanks vex me. But he is gone, thanks to his needy want, And the prerogative of my crown: scant His thanks were ended, when I (which did see All the court fill’d with more strange things than

he)

Ran from thence with such, or more haste than

one Who fears more actions, doth haste from prison,

175

Than mine, to find a subject staid and wise
Already half turn’d traitor by surprise.
I felt the infection slide from him to me, 170
As in the ***, some give it to get free;
And quick to swallow me, methought I saw
One of our giant statutes ope its jaw.

In that nice moment, as another lie
Stood just a-tilt, the minister came by:
To him he flies, and bows, and bows again;
Then, close as Umbra, joins the dirty train:
Not Fannius' self more impudently near,
When half his nose is in his prince's ear.
I quaked at heart; and still afraid to see 180
All the court fill'd with stranger things than he,
Ran out as fast, as one that pays his bail,
And dreads more actions, hurries from a jail.

Bear me, some god ! O, quickly bear me hence To wholesome solitude, the nurse of sense; 185 Where contemplation prunes her ruffled wings, And the free soul looks down to pity kings! There sober thought pursued the amusing theme, Till fancy color'd it, and form’d a dream. A vision hermits can to hell transport, And forced ev'n me to see the damn'd at court. Not Dante, dreaming all the infernal state, Beheld such scenes of envy, sin, and hate.

192 Not Dante dreaming. The boldness of the early Italian and French writers is sometimes surprising : it is not less surprising that this boldness should have escaped with impunity under the powerful and violent sovereigns of the time. Dante openly calls the popedom the great harlot of the Apocalypse, (Inferno, canto 19) and declares Hugo Capet the son of a butcher, and the root of an evil plant, from which no good fruit could come. Rabelais holds up to the wildest ridicule Francis I., Henry II., and Charles V.

190

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