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DR. JOHN DONNE,
Quid vetat et nosmet Lucili scripta legentes
YES, thank my stars ! as early as I knew
5 As who knows Sappho smiles at other whores.
SATIRE II. SIR, tho' (I thank God for it) I do hate Perfectly all this town, yet there's one state In all things so excellently best, That hate towards them breeds pity towards the rest.
I grant that poetry's a crying sin ; It brought (no doubt) the Excise and Army in: Catch'd like the plague, or love, the Lord knows how, But that the cure is starving all allow.
10 Yet like Papists 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 carv'd organ move, The gilded puppets dance and mount above: Heav'n by th’ breath th' inspiring bellows blow; Th’ inspiring bellows lie and pant below.
Tho' poetry, indeed, be such a siu
One sings the fair; but songs no longer move;
These write to lords, some mean reward to get, As needy beggars sing at doors for meat: 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:
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 Th' excuse 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 those things out-spue As his own things: and they're his own, 'tis true;
Sense pass'd thro' him no longer is the same;
pass o'er all those confessors and martyrs 35
One, one man only breeds my just offence, Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave impu
For if one my meat, tho' it be known
Time, that at last matures a clap to pox,
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; Call himself Barrister to ev'ry wench, And woo in language of the Pleas and Bench? 60
Whom time (which rots all, and make botches pox,
Words, words which would tear