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Yes, sir, how small soever be my heap,
A part I will enjoy, as well as keep.
My heir may sigh, and think it want of grace
A man so poor would live without a place :
But sure no statute in his favour says,
How free or frugal I shall pass my days :
I who at some times spend, at others spare,
Divided between carelessness and care.
'Tis one thing madly to disperse my store;
Another, not to heed to treasure more:
Glad, like a boy, to snatch the first good day,
And pleased, if sordid want be far away.
What is 't to me (a passenger, God wot!)
Whether my vessel be first-rate or not?
The ship itself may make a better figure;
But I that sail am neither less nor bigger:
I neither strut with every favouring breath,
Nor strive with all the tempest in my teeth.
In power, wit, figure, virtue, fortune, placed
Behind the foremost, and before the last.
• But why all this of avarice? I have none.'
I wish you joy, sir, of a tyrant gone!
But does no other lord it at this hour,
As wild and mad ? the avarice of power ?
Does neither rage inflame, nor fear appal?
Not the black fear of death, that saddens all ?
With terrors round, can reason hold her throne,
Despise the known, nor tremble at th' unknown?
Survey both worlds, intrepid and entire,
In spite of witches, devils, dreams, and fire?
Pleased to look forward, pleased to look behind,
And count each birth-day with a grateful
Has life no sourness, drawn so near its end?
Canst thou endure a foe, forgive a friend ?
Has age but melted the rough parts away,
As winter-fruits grow mild ere they decay?
Or will you think, my friend, your business done,
When, of a hundred thorns, you pull out one?
Learn to live well, or fairly make your will; You've play'd, and loved, and ate, and drank your fill:
Walk sober off, before a sprightlier age
Comes tittering on, and shoves you from the stage :
Leave such to trifle with more grace and ease,
Whom folly pleases, and whose follies please.
DR. JOHN DONNE, DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S,
Quid vetat, ut nosmet Lucili scripta legentes
Quærere, num illius, num rerum dura negarit
Versiculos natura magis factos, et euntes
Yes; thank my stars! as early as I knew
This town, I had the sense to hate it too :
Yet here, as e'en in hell, there must be still
One giant-vice, so excellently ill,
That all beside one pities, not abhors ;
As who knows Sappho, smiles at other whores.
I grant that poetry 's a crying sin;
It brought (no doubt) th' excise and army in :
Catch'd like the plague, or love, the Lord knows how,
But that the cure is starving, all allow.
Yet like the papist's, is the poet's state,
Poor and disarm’d, and hardly worth your hate?
SATIRE II. 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 tow'rds them, breeds pity tow'rds 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 starved out; yet their state Is poor, disarm'd, like papists, not worth hate.
Here a lean bard, whose wit could never give
Himself a dinner, makes an actor live:
The thief condemn'd, in law already dead,
So prompts, and saves a rogue who cannot read.
Thus as the pipes of some carved organ move,
The gilded puppets dance and mount above.
Heav'd by the breath th' inspiring bellows blow:
Th' inspiring bellows lie and pant below.
One sings the fair: but songs no longer move ;
No rat is rhym'd to death, nor maid to love;
In love's, in nature's spite, the siege they hold,
And scorn the flesh, the devil, and all but gold.
These write to lords, some mean reward to
As needy beggars sing at doors for meat.
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:
'Tis changed, no doubt, from what it was before;
His rank digestion makes it wit no more:
One (like a wretch, which at bar judged 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 puppets 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; Rams and slings now are silly battery, Pistolets are the best artillery. And they who write to lords, rewards to get, Are they not like singers at doors for meat ? And they who write, because all write, have still That 'scuse for writing, and for writing ill.
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw Others wits’-fruits, and in his ravenous maw
Sense, past through him, no longer is the same:
For food digested takes another name.
I 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
Schnolmen 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-benficed, can be
More pert, more proud, more positive than he.
Rankly digested, doth those things out-spue,
As his own things ; and they 're his own,'tis true;
For if one eat my meat, though it be known
The meat was mine, the excrement's his own.
But these do me no harm, nor they which use,
to out-usure Jews,
To out-drink the sea, ť out-swear 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, oply, breeds my just offence, Whom 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,
What farther 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?
Or court a wife, spread out his wily parts,
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 ;
Than are new beneficed ministers, he throws
Like nets or lime-twigs whereso'er he goes
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 chuse
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
That only suretiship had brought them there,
And to every suitor lye in every thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.