This art some poet, or the devil, has taught ye:
And this our property you have invaded,
And a privilege of both Houses have made it. 30
But that trust above all in poets reposed,
That kings by them only are made and deposed,
This though you cannot do, yet you are willing:
But when we undertake deposing or killing,
They’re tyrants and monsters; and yet then the poet
Takes full revenge on the villains that do it:
And when we resume a sceptre or crown,
We are modest, and seek not to make it our own.
But is’t not presumption to write verses to you,
Who make better poems by far of the two? 40
For all those pretty knacks you compose,
Alas! what are they but poems in prose?
And between those and ours there’s no difference,
But that yours want the rhyme, the wit, and the sense:
But for lying (the most noble part of a poet)
You have it abundantly, and yourselves know it;
And though you are modest and seem to abhor it,
’T has done you good service, and thank Hell for it:
Although the old maxim remains still in force,
That a sanctified cause must have a sanctified course, 50
If poverty be a part of our trade,
So far the whole kingdom poets you have made,
Nay, even so far as undoing will do it,
You have made King Charles himself a poet:
But provoke not his Muse, for all the world knows,
Already you have had too much of his prose.
1 Do you not know, not a fortnight ago,
How they bragg’d of a Western Wonder?
When a hundred and ten slew five thousand men,
With the help of lightning and thunder?
2 There Hopton was slain, again and again,
Or else my author did lie;
With a new thanksgiving, for the dead who are living,
To God, and his servant Chidleigh.
3 But now on which side was the miracle tried?
I hope we at last are even;
For Sir Ralph and his knaves are risen from their graves,
To cudgel the clowns of Devon.
4 And there Stamford came, for his honour was lame
Of the gout three months together;
But it proved, when they fought, but a running gout,
For his heels were lighter than ever.
5 For now he outruns his arms and his guns,
And leaves all his money behind him;
But they follow after; unless he take water,
At Plymouth again they will find him.
6 What Reading hath cost, and Stamford hath lost,
Goes deep in the sequestrations;
These wounds will not heal, with your new great seal,
Nor Jephson’s declarations.
7 Now, Peters and Case, in your prayer and grace,
Remember the new thanksgiving;
Isaac and his wife, now dig for your life,
Or shortly you’ll dig for your living.