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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 :
YES; thank my stars ! as early as I knew
This town, I had the sense to hate it too :
5 As who knows Sappho, smiles at other whores.
I grant that poetry's a crying sin;
Here a lean bard, whose wit could never give
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,
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw
to out-usure Jews,
But these punish themselves. The insolence
In love's, in nature's spite, the siege they hold,
These write to lords, some mean reward to get,
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,
Than are new-benefic'd ministers, he throws,
Words, words which would tear