Imágenes de página




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:
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 :
And, 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 post-boys o'er by heart. 155 Like a big wife at sight of loathsome meat Ready to cast, I yawn, I sigh, and sweat. Then as a licensed spy, whom nothing can Silence or hurt, he libels the great man; Swears every place entail'd for years to come, 160 In sure succession to the day of doom : He names the price for every

office paid, And says our wars thrive ill, because delay'd : Nay, hints ’tis by connivance of the court, That Spain robs on, and Dunkirk's still a port. 165 Not more amazement seized on Circe's guests, To see themselves fall endlong into beasts,

[ocr errors]

Becoming traytor, and methought I saw
One of our giant statutes ope his jaw,
To suck me in for hearing him: I found,
That as burnt venomouş leachers do grow sound
By giving others their sores, I might grow
Guilty, and he free : therefore 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 hour
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,

• Willingly.'
• Nay, sir, can you spare me a crown?' Thank-

fully I Gave it as ransom; but as fiddlers, still, Though they be paid to be gone, yet needs will Thrust one more jig 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 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


Who fears more actions, doth haste from prison.

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, 170
As in the ***, 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 came by: 175
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.
I quaked at heart; and still afraid to see 180
All the court fill'd with stranger things than he,
Ran out as fast, as one that


his bail, And dreads more actions, hurries from a jail.

Bear me, some god ! O, quickly bear me hence To wholesome solitude, the nurse of sense ; 185 Where contemplation prunes her ruffled wings, And the free soul looks down to pity kings! There sober thought pursued the amusing theme, Till fancy color'd it, and form'd a dream. A vision hermits can to hell transport,

190 And forced ev'n me to see the damn'd at court. Not Dante, dreaming all the infernal state, Beheld such scenes of envy, sin, and hate.

192 Not Dante dreaming. The boldness of the early Italian and French writers is sometimes surprising : it is not less surprising that this boldness should have escaped with impunity under the powerful and violent sovereigns of the time. Dante openly calls the popedom the great harlot of the Apocalypse, (Inferno, canto 19) and declares Hugo Capet the son of a butcher, and the root of an evil plant, from which no good fruit could come.' Rabelais holds up to the wildest ridicule Francis I., Henry II., and Charles V.

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. Low fear
Becomes the guilty, not the accuser: then,
Shall I, none's slave, of high-born or raised men
Fear frowns; and my mistress Truth, betray

thee For the huffing, bragart, puft nobility ? No, no, thou which since yesterday hast been Almost about the whole world, hast thou seen, 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, flouts our courtiers; for Just such gay painted things, which no sap nor Tast have in them, ours are; and natural Some of the stocks are; their fruits bastard all.

'Tis ten a 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, cry the flatterers; and bring Them next week to the theatre to sell. Wants reach all states : me seems they do as well

* A show of the Italian garden in wax-work, in the time of king James 1.-Pope.


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?
O, my fair mistress, Truth! shall I quit thee 200
For huffing, braggart, puff'd nobility?
Thou, who since yesterday hast rolld o'er all
The busy, idle blockheads of the ball ;-
Hast thou, O sun! beheld an emptier sort,
Than such as swell this bladder of a court ? 205
Now pox on those who 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; 215
In hues as gay, and odors 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



206 Court in war. A famous show of the court of France in wax-work.

213 At Fig's, at White's. White's was a noted gaming-house; Fig's, a prize-fighter's academy, where the young nobility received instruction in those days: it was also customary for the nobility and gentry to visit the condemned criminals in Newgate.-Pope.

« AnteriorContinuar »