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Prerogative of debts ! how he doth dresse
His messages in chink ? not an expresse
Without a fee for reading; and 'tis fit,
For gold's the best restorative of wit;
Oh how he gilds them o'r! with what delight
I read those lines, which angels doe indite ?
But wilt have money Og? must I dispurse ?
Will nothing serve thee but a Poet's curse ?
Wilt rob an altar thus ? and sweep at once
What Orpheus-like I forc'd from stocks and stones ?
'Twill never swell thy bag, nor ring one peale
In thy dark chest. Talk not of shreeres, or
gaole, I feare them not. I have no land to glutt Thy durty appetite, and make thee strutt Nimrod of acres ; Il’e no speech prepare To court the hopefull cormorant, thine heire. For there's a kingdome, at thy beck, if thou But kick this drosse : Parnassus flowrie brow I'le give thee with my Tempe, and to boot That horse which struck a fountain with his foot.? A bed of roses I'le provide for thee,
And chrystal springs shall drop thee melodie;
The breathing shades wee'l haunt, where ev'ry
Shall whisper us asleep, though thou art deafe ;
Those waggish nymphs too which none ever yet
Durst make love to, wee'l teach the loving fit,
Wee'l suck the corall of their lips, and feed
l'pon their spicie breath, a meale at need :
Rore in their amber-tresses, and unfold
That glist'ring grove, the curled wood of gold ;
Then peep for babies, a new puppet play,
And riddle what their pratling eyes would say.
But here thou must remember to dispurse,
For without money all this is a curse :
Thou must for more bags call, and so restore
This iron-age to gold, as once before ;
This thou must doe, and yet this is not all,
For thus the poet would be still in thrall,
Thou must then-if live thus-my neast of honey,
Cancell old bonds, and beg to lend more money.
WONDER, James, through the whole
Of ages, such entailes of povertie Are layd on Poets ; lawyers-they say-have
A trick to cut them, would they were but bound To practise on us, though for this thing wee Should pay-if possible—their bribes and fee. Search —as thou canst - the old and moderne
store Of Rome aud ours, and all the wittie score Thou shalt not find a rich one; take each climo And run o'r all the pilgrimage of time Thou'lt meet them poor, and ev'ry where descrie A thredbare, goldless genealogie. Nature-it seems
ms—when she meant us for Eirth Spent so much of her treasure in the birth As ever after nigards her, and shee Thus stor'd within, beggers us outwardly. Wofull profusion! at how dear a rate Are wee made up ? all hope of thrift and state Lost for a verse: When I by thoughts look back Into the wombe of time, and see the rack Stand useless there, untill we are produc'd Unto the torture, and our soules infus’d To learn affliction, I begin to doubt That as some tyrants use from their chain'd rout Of slaves, to pick out one whom for their sport They keep afflicted by some lingring art; So wee are meerly thrown upon the stage The mirth of fooles, and legend of the age. When I see in the ruines of a sute
Some nobler brest, and his tongue sadly mute
Feed on the vocall silence of his eye,
And knowing cannot reach the remedie :
When soules of baser stamp shine in their store,
And he of all the throng is only poore;
When French apes for forraign fashions pay,
And English legs are drest th' outlandish way,
So fine too, that they their own shadows wooe,
While he walks in the sad and pilgrim shooe :
I'm mad at Fate, and angry ev'n to sinne,
To see deserts and learning clad so thinne:
To think how th' earthly usurer can brood
Upon his bags, and weigh the pretious food
With palsied hands, as if his soule did feare
The scales could rob him of what he layd there;
Like divels that on hid treasures sit, or those
Whose jealous eyes trust not beyond their nose :
They guard the durt and the bright idol hold
Close, and commit adultery with gold.
A curse upon their drosse ! how have we sued
For a few scatter'd chips ? how oft pursu'd
Petitions with a blush, in hope to squeeze
For their souls' health, more than our wants a
peece ? Their steel-rib'd chest and purse—rust eat them
both !Have cost us with much paper many an oath,
And protestations of such solemn sense,
As if our soules were sureties for the pence.
Should we a full night's learned cares present,
They'l scarce return us one short houre's content :
’Las! they're but quibbles, things we poets feign,
The short-liv'd squibs and crackers of the brain.
But wee'l be wiser, knowing 'tis not they
That must redeem the hardships of our way,
Whether a Higher Power, or that starre
Which neerest heav'n, is from the Earth most far
Oppress us thus, or angel'd from that sphere
By our strict guardians are kept luckless here,
It matters not, wee shall one day obtain
Our native and celestiall scope again.
TO HIS RETIRED FRIEND, AN INVITA
TION TO BRECKNOCK.
INCE last wee met, thou and thy horse
Have not so much as drunk, or litter'd
I wonder, though thy self be thus deceast,
Thou hast the spite to coffin up thy beast ;
Or is the palfrey sick, and his rough hide
With the penance of one spur mortifide ?
Or taught by thee-like Pythagoras's oxe-