Page images
[ocr errors]



FIRST adventure', with fool-hardy might, To tread the steps of perilous despight: I first adventure, follow me who list, And be the second English Satyrist. Envy wayts on my backe, Truth on my side: Envy will be my page, and truth my guide. Envy the margent holds, and truth the line : Truth doth approve, but envy doth repine. For in this smoothing age who durst indite Hath made his pen a hyred parasite, To claw the back of him that beastly lives, And pranck: base men in proud superlatives. Whence damned vice is shrouded quite from shame And crown'd with virtue's meed, immortal name! Infamy dispossest of native due, Ordain'd of old on looser life to sue : The world's eye bleared with those shameless lyes, Mask'd in the shew of meal-mouth'd poesies. Go, daring Muse, on with thy thanklesse taske, And do the ugly face of vice unmaske: And if thou canst not thine high flight remit, So as it mought a lowly Satyre fit, Let lowly Satyres rise aloft to thee: Truth be thy speed, and truth thy patron bee.

i I first adventure-Book ii. Sat. 7, our author implies the previous existence of other Satirists.

-Thou brain-sick tale
Of old astrology: where didst thou vaile
Thy cursed head thus long, that so it mist

The black bronds of SOME SHARPER SATYRIST? That he introduced Genuine Satire among us, may be readily granted ; but not that he was the First Satirist. E. It appears, however, from his Postscript, that he had seen no English Satires; and only those of Ariosto and “ one base French Sa. tire," of modern writers.

* Pranck-Dress out.





Nor ladie's wanton love, nor wand'ring knight,
Legend' I out in rymes all richly dight.
Nor fright the reader with the pagan vaunt
Of mightie Mahound, and great Termagaunt'.
Nor list I sonnet of my mistresse' face,
To paint some Blowesse with a borrow'd grace";
Nor can I bide to pen some hungries Scene
For thick-skin eares, and undiscerning eyne.
Nor ever could


scornfull Muse abide
With tragick shooes her ankles for to hide.
Nor can I crouch, and writhe my fauning tayle
To some great patron, for my best avayle.
Such hunger-starven, trencher-poetry,
Or, let it never live, or timely dye:


i From this Satire we learn what kind of pieces were then most in fashion, and in what manner they were written. They seem to have been Tales of Love and Chivalry, Amatorial Sonnets, Tragedies, Comedies, and Pastorals. W.

LegendTo write fabulously. 3 Of mightie Mahound, and great Termagaunt. Warton, in his commentary on the Fairy Queen, was persuaded that our author had here a passage of that poem in view

- The whiles the carle did fret
And fume in his disdainful mind the more,
And oftentimes by TERMAGAUNT and MAHOUND swore.

F. Q. B. vi. C. 7. St. 47. These were, however, common Saracen oaths; and introduced in many parts of the Fairy Queen. E. See Todd's Spenser, vol. vii. p. 27.

* To paint some Blowesse with a bor row'd grace. In modern ballads, Blousilinda, or Blousibella. Johnson interprets Blowze, a ruddy fat-faced wench. W.

s Hungrie-Perhaps the true reading is angrie : that is, impassioned. W. Avayle-Advantage.

? Such hunger-starven, trencher-poetry. Poetry written by hirelings for bread. W.

Nor under every bank and every tree,
Speak rymes unto my oten minstralsie :
Nor caroll out so pleasing lively laies,
As mought the Graces move my mirth to praise.
Trumpet, and reeds, and socks, and buskins fine",
I them bequeath : whose statues wand'ring twine
Of yvy, mixt with bayes, circlen around;
Their living temples likewise laurell-bound.
Rather had I, albee in carelesse rymes,
Check the mis-ord'red world, and lawlesse tymes.
Nor need I crave the Muse's mid-wifry,
To bring to light so worth-lesse poetry:
Or, if we list, what baser Muse can bide,
To sit and sing by Grantae's naked side?
They haunt the tyded Thames and salt Medway,
Ere since the fame of their late bridall day to
Nought have we here but willow-shaded shore',
To tell our Grant his banks are left forlore".

[ocr errors]


WHILOME " the Sisters Nine were vestall maides,
And held their temple in the secret shades


Trumpet, and recds, and socks, and buskins fine,
I them bequeath: whose statues wand'ring twine
Of yvy, mixt with buyes, circlen around

Their living temples likewise laurell-bound.
A beautiful imitation of the Prologue to Persius's Satires-

Heliconidasque pallidamque Pyrenen
Illis remitlo, quorum imagines lumbunt

Hedere sequaces. E. I them bequeathThe Oxford Editor refers this to the Earl of Surrey, Wyat, Sid. ney, Dyer, &c.

Whose statues wandring twine &c.

Whose stalues th' wand'ring twine &c. W. circlen-encircle. 19 They haunt the tyded Thumes and salt Medway,

Ere since the fame of their late bridall day : Alluding to Spenser's beautiful episode, in the Fairy Queen, B. iv. Canto 11, on the marriage of the Thames and Medway. E.

-Willow-shaded shore.
Willows, the types of desertion. W. See the close of 4. of this Book.

12 forlore--forlorn. 13 In this Satire our author poetically laments that the Nine Muses are no longer Vestal Virgins.

W. * Whilome-formerly.


Of faire Parnassus, that two-headed hill,
Whose auncient fame the southern world did fill:
And, in the steed of their eternall flame,
Was the coole streame, that tooke his endles name,
From out the fertile hoofe of winged steed.
There did they sit, and do their holy deed,
That pleas'd both heav'n and earth : til that of late
Whom should I fault's? or the most righteous fate,
Or heav'n or men, or fiend, or ought beside,
That ever made that foule mischance betide?
Some of the Sisters in securer shades
Defloured were :
And, ever since, disdaining sacred shame,
Done ought that might their heav'nly stock defame
Now is Pernassus turned to a stewes,
And on bay-stocks the wauton myrtle grewes ;
Cythêron hill's become a brothel-bed,
And Pyrene" sweet turnd to a poison’d head
Of cole-black puddle, whose infectuous staine
Corrupteth all the lowly fruitfull plaine ;
Their modest stole", to garish looser weed,
Deck’t with love-favors, their late whordom's meed:
And, where they wont sip of the simple flood,
Now tosse they bowles of Bacchus' boyling blood
I marvell'd much, with doubtfull jealousie,
Whence came such litturs of new poetrie:
Mee thought I fear'd, least the hors-hoofed well
His native banks did proudly over-swell
In some late discontent, thence to ensue
Such wondrous rablements of rim-sters new :
But, since, I saw it painted on Fame's wings,
The Muses to be woren IVantonings.
Each bush, each bank, and ech base apple-squire
Can serve to sate their beastly lewd desire.
Ye bastard poets, see your pedigree,
From common trulls and loathsom brothelry!

With some pot-fury, ravisht from their wit,
They sit and muse on some no-vulgar writ.


[ocr errors]


1 -fault_blame.
Pyrene-Two syllables. E.


-apple-squire.--A cant term, formerly in use to denote a pimp. “Of her gentleman-usher I became her Apple-Squire, to hold the door, and keep centinel at taverns.” Nabbe's Microcosmus, quoted by Mason in his Supplement to Johnson.


« PreviousContinue »