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He asks, 'What news?' I tell him of new plays,
New eunuchs, harlequins, and operas.
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, More than ten Hollinsheds, or Halls, or Stowes. When the queen frown'd, or smiled, he knows; and
A subtle minister may make of that:
Who sins with whom : who got his pension rug,
Or quicken'd a reversion by a drug:
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,
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:
Ana asks what news; I tell him of new playes.
He takes my hand, and as a still, which stayes
A sembrief 'twixt each drop, he niggardly,
As loth to enrich me, so tells many a ly.
More than ten Hollensheds, or Halls, or Stows,
Of trivial household trash, he knows. He knows
When the queen frown'd or smiled! and he knows
A subtle statesman may gather of that :
He knows who loves whom: and who by poison
Hastes to an officer's reversion ;
Who wastes in meat, in clothes, in horse, he notes ;
Who loveth whores
He knows who hath sold his lands, and now doth beg
A licence, old iron, boots, shoes, and egge-
Shells to transport;
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 :
At last (which proves him wiser still than all)
What lady's face is not a whited wall.
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 postboys o'er by heart.
Like a big wite at sight of loathsome meat,
Ready to cast, I yawn, I sigh, I sweat:
Then as a licensed spy, who nothing can
Silence or hurt, he libels every man;
Swears every place entail'd for years to comez,
In sure succession to the day of doom:
He names the price of every office paid,
And says our wars thrive ill, because delay'd :
* 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 cloys me. I beleh, spue:
spit, Look pale and sickly, like a patient, yet He thrusts on more, and as he had undertook, То 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, Hle, like a privileged spie, whom nothing can Discredit, rebels now gainst each great man. He names the price of every office paid; He saith our wars thrive ill, because delaid: That offices are entailed, and that there are Perpetuities of them, lasting as far
Nay hints, 'uis by connivance of the court,
That Spain robs on, and Dunkirk's still a port.
Not more amazement seized on Circe's guests,
To see themselves fall headlong into beasts,
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;
As in the pox, 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 eame 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.
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
Becoming traytor, and methought I saw
One of our giant statutes ope its jaw
"To suck me in for hearing him: I found
That as burnt venemous leachers do grow sound
By giving others their sores, I might grow
Guilty, and be free: thereforo 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 hower
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, “Willing!y?"
*Nay, sir, can you spare me a crown ?? Thankfully I
Gave it, as ransom : but as fiddlers, still,
Though they be paid to be gone, yet needs will
Thrust one more jigg 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
I quaked at heart : and, still afraid to see
All the court fillid 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! oh quickly bear me hence
To wholesome solitude, the nurse of sense !
Where contemplation prunes her ruffled wings,
And the free soul looks down to pity kings!
There sober thought pursued the amazing theme,
Till fancy colour'd it, and form'd a dream.
A vision hermits can to hell transport,
And forced e'en me to see the damn'd at court,
Not Dante, dreaming all the infernal state,
Beheld such scenes of envy, sin, and hate.
Base fear becomes the guilty, not the free;
Suits tyrants, plunderers, but suits not me:
Shall I, the terror of this sinful town,
Care, if a liveried lord or smile or frown?
Who cannot flatter, and detest who can,
Tremble before a noble serving-man?
my fair mistress, Truth! shall I quit thee
For huffing, braggart, puft nobility ?
Thou, who since yesterday hast rollid o'er all
The busy, idle blockheads of the ball,
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 hast from prison.
At home in wholesome solitariness
My piteous soul began the wretchedness
Of suitors at court to mourn; and a trance
Like his, who dreamt he saw hell, did advance
Itself o'er me; such men as he saw there
I saw at court, and worse and more. Lo fear
Becomes the guilty, not the accuser: Then,
Shall I, none's slave, of highborn or raised men
Fear frowns; and my mistress Truth, betray thee
For the huffing, bragart, puft nobility ?
No, no, thou which since yesterday has been
Almost about the whole world, hast thou seen,
Hlast thou, oh Sun! beheld an emptier sort,
Than such as swell this bladder of a court ?
Now pox on those that show a court in wax!
It ought to bring all courtiers on their backs :
Such painted puppets ! such a varnish'd race
Of hollow gewgaws, only dress and face !
Such waxen noses, stately staring things-
No wonder some folks bow, and think them kings.
See! where the British youth, engaged no more,
At Fig's, at White's, with felons, or a whore,
Pay their last duty to the court, and come
All fresh and fragrant, to the drawing-room;
In hues as gay, and odours as divine,
As the fair fields they sold to look so fine.
“That 's velvet for a king ! the flatterer swears ;
'Tis true ; for ten days hence 'twill be king Lear’s.
Our court may justly to our stage give rules,
That helps it both to fools' coats and to fools.
And why not players strut in courtiers' clothes ?
for these are actors too, as well as those :
O Sun, in all thy journey, vanity,
Such as swells the bladder of our court ? I
Think he which made your waxen garden, and
Transported it from Italy, to stand
With us, at London, Aouts our courtiers; for
Just such gay painted things, which no sap, nor
Taste have in them, ours are: and natural
Some of the stocks are; their fruits bastard all.
'Tis ten o'clock and past; all whom the mues,
Baloun, or tennis, diet, or the stews
Had all the morning held, now the second
Time made ready, that day, in flocks are found
In the presence; and I (God pardon me)
As fresh and sweet their apparels be, as be
Their fields they sold to buy them. For a king
Those hose are, cried the flatterers : and bring
Them next week to the theatre to sell.
Wants reach all states : me seems they do as well
At stage, as courts : all are players. Whoe'er looks
(For themselyes dare not go) o'er Cheapside books,