Having taken this resolution, I thought it would not be amiss to move my Diogenical tub, that you might not accuse me of living without example. I see a swarm of our modern poets and orators, your Colinets, Marots, Drouets, Saint Gelais, Salels, Masuels, and many more, who, having commenced masters in Apollo’s academy on Mount Parnassus, and drunk brimmers at the Caballin fountain among the nine merry Muses, have raised our vulgar tongue, and made it a noble and everlasting structure. Their works are all Parian marble, alabaster, porphyry, and royal cement; they treat of nothing but heroic deeds, mighty things, grave and difficult matters, and this in a crimson, alamode, rhetorical style. Their writings are all divine nectar, rich, racy, sparkling, delicate, and luscious wine. Nor does our sex wholly engross this honour; ladies have had their share of the glory; one of them, of the royal blood of France, whom it were a profanation but to name here, surprises the age at once by the transcendent and inventive genius in her writings and the admirable graces of her style. Imitate those great examples if you can; for my part I cannot. Everyone, you know, cannot go to Corinth. When Solomon built the temple, all could not give gold by handfuls.
Since then ’tis not in my power to improve our architecture as much as they, I am e’en resolved to do like Renault of Montauban: I’ll wait on the masons, set on the pot for the masons, cook for the stone-cutters; and since it was not my good luck to be cut out for one of them, I will live and die the admirer of their divine writings.
As for you, little envious prigs, snarling bastards, puny critics, you’ll soon have railed your last; go hang yourselves, and choose you out some well-spread oak, under whose shade you may swing in state, to the admiration of the gaping mob; you shall never want rope enough. While I here solemnly protest before my Helicon, in the presence of my nine mistresses the Muses, that if I live yet the age of a dog, eked out with that of three crows, sound wind and limbs, like the old Hebrew captain Moses, Xenophilus the musician, and Demonax the philosopher, by arguments no ways impertinent, and reasons not to be disputed, I will prove, in the teeth of a parcel of brokers and retailers of ancient rhapsodies and such mouldy trash, that our vulgar tongue is not so mean, silly, inept, poor, barren, and contemptible as they pretend. Nor ought I to be afraid of I know not what botchers of old threadbare stuff, a hundred and a hundred times clouted up and pieced together; wretched bunglers that can do nothing but new-vamp old rusty saws; beggarly scavengers that rake even the muddiest canals of antiquity for scraps and bits of Latin as insignificant as they are often uncertain. Beseeching our grandees of Witland that, as when formerly Apollo had distributed all the treasures of his poetical exchequer to his favourites, little hulchbacked Aesop got for himself the office of apologue-monger; in the same manner, since I do not aspire higher, they would not deny me that of puny rhyparographer, or riffraff follower of the sect of Pyreicus.