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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.

One(like a wretch, which at barre 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 his 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: 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 Rankly digested, doth these 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. Tout-drink the sea, t' out-swear the Letanie, Who with sins all kinds as familiar be

Catch'd like the plague, or love, the Lord knows

how, But that the cure is starving, all allow.

10 Yet like the papist's, is the poet's state, Poor and disarm'd, and hardly worth your

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, 15 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. Heaved by the breath, th' inspiring bellows blow Th' inspiring bellows lie and pant below. 20

One sings the fair; but songs no longer move; No rat is rhymed 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 get, 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 : 30 'Tis changed, 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 ;

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,
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, Than are new-beneficed ministers, he throws, Like nets or lime-twigs, wheresoe'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:


Ver. 38. Irishmen out-swear ;] The original says,

“out-swear the Letanie,” improved by the Imitator into a just stroke of satire. Dr. Donne's is a low allusion to a licentious quibble used at that time by the enemies of the English Liturgy: who, disliking the frequent invocations in the Letanie, called them the taking God's name in vain, which is the scripture periphrasis for swearing.

Warburton Ver. 43. Of whose strange crimes] Such as Sanchez de Matrimonio has minutely enumerated and described. Such Canonists deserved this animadversion. In Pascal's fine Provincial Letters are also some strange and striking examples.

Warton. Ver. 44. In what Commandment's large contents they dwell.] The original is more humorous :

“ In which Commandment's large receit they dwell.” As if the Ten Commandments were so wide, as to stand ready to


Wicked as pages, who in early years
Act sins which Prisca's confessor scarce hears. 40
Even 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 im

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.

50 No

young divine, new benefic'd, 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 55 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;


receive every thing within them, that either the law of nature, or the Gospels, enjoins. A just ridicule on those practical commentators, as they are called, who include all moral and religious duties within the Decalogue. Whereas their true original sense is much more confined; being a short summary of moral duty fitted for a single people, upon a particular occasion, and to serve temporary ends.

Warburton. Ver. 48. makes a calf an ox,] An unaccountable blunder in our author. As if an ox was in his natural state.


More, more than ten Sclavonians scolding, more
Than when winds in our ruin'd abbyes roar.
Then sick with poetry, and possest 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 swear,
That only suretyship hath brought them there,
And to every suitor lye in every thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.
Like a wedge in a block, wring to the barre,
Bearing like asses, and more shameless farre
Than carted whores, lie to the grave judge; for
Bastardy abounds not in the king's titles, nor
Simony and sodomy in church-men's lives,
As these things do in him; by these he thrives.


Ver. 61. Language, which Boreas-] The original has here a very fine stroke of satire :

“ Than when winds in our ruin'd abbyes roar." The frauds with which that work (so necessary for the welfare both of religion and the state) was begun; the rapine with which it was carried on; and the dissoluteness in which the plunder arising from it was wasted, had scandalized all sober men ; and disposed some, even of the best Protestants, to wish, that some part of that immense wealth, arising from the suppression of the monasteries,, had been reserved for charity, hospitality, and even for the service of religion.

Warburton. Ver. 74. For not in chariots Peter] Pope might have applied the words of Horace to this eternal Peter, with as much propriety as he did to his friend Bolingbroke:

Prima dicte mihi, summâ dicende camænâ !

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