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Therefore I suffer'd this; towards me did run A thing more strange, than on Nile's slime the sun E'er bred, or all which into Noah's ark came : A thing which would have pos'd Adam to name : Stranger than seven antiquaries studies, Than Africk monsters, Guianaes rarities, Stranger than strangers : one who, for a Dane, In the Danes massacre had sure been slain, If he had liv'd then ; and without help dies, When next the 'prentices 'gainst strangers rise ; One whom the watch at noon lets scarce go by; One, to whom the examining justice sure would cry, Sir, by your priesthood, tell me what you are? His cloathes were strange, tho' coarse, and black,
tho' bare. Sleeveless his jerkin was, and had it been Velvet, but 'twas now (so much ground was seen) Become tufftaffaty ; and our children shall See it plain rash a while, then nought at all. The thing hath travail'd, and, faith, speaks all
tongues, And only knoweth what to all states belongs, Made of th' accents, and best phrase of all these, He speaks one language. If strange meats displease,
Scarce was I enter'd, when, behold! there came
A thing which Adam had been pos’d to name ; 25
Noah had refus’d it lodging in his ark,
Where all the race of reptiles might embark:
A verier monster, than on Africk's shore
The sun e'er got, or slimy Nilus bore,
Or Sloan or Woodward's wondrous shelves contain,
Nay, all that lying travellers can feign.
31 The watch would hardly let him pass
At night would swear him dropt out of the moon.
One, whom the mob, when next we find or make
A Popish plot, shall for a Jesuit take,
And the wise justice, starting from his chair,
Cry, By your priesthood tell me what you are ?
Such was the wight: Th' apparel on his back,
Tho' coarse, was rev'rend, and tho' bare, was black:
The suit, if by the fashion one might guess,
Was velvet in the youth of good Queen Bess,
But mere tuff-taffety what now remain'd;
So time, that changes all things, had ordain'd!
Our sons shall see it leisurely decay,
First turn plain rash, then vanish quite away. 45
This thing has travell’d, speaks each language too, And knows what's fit for ev'ry state to do ; Of whose best phrase and courtly accent join'd, He forms one tongue, exotic and refin'd. Talkers I've learn’d to bear; Motteux I knew, Henley himself I've heard, and Budgel too.
Art can deceive, or hunger force my tast ;
But pedants motly tongue, souldiers bumbast,
Mountebanks drug-tongue, nor the terms of law,
Are strong enough preparatives to draw
Me to hear this, yet I must be content
With his tongue, in his tongue call'd complement :
In which he can win widows, and pay scores,
Make men speak treason, couzen subtlest whores,
Outflatter favourites, or outlie either
Jovius, or Surius, or both together.
He names me, and comes to me; I whisper, God,
How have I sinn'd, that thy wrath's furious rod,
This fellow, chuseth me! He saith, Sir,
I love your judgment, whom do you prefer
For the best linguist ? and I seelily
Said that I thought Calepine's dictionary.
Nay, but of men, most sweet Sir? Beza then,
Some Jesuits, and two reverend men
Of our two academies I nam’d. Here
He stopt me, and said, Nay your apostles were
Good pretty linguists; so Panurgus was,
Yet a poor gentleman ; all these may pass
By travail. Then, as if he would have sold
His tongue, he prais'd it, and such wonders told,
The doctor's wormwood style, the hash of tongues
A pedant makes the storm of Gonson's lungs,
The whole artill’ry of the terms of war,
And (all those plagues in one) the bawling bar : 55
These I could bear ; but not a rogue so civil,
Whose tongue will compliment you to the devil.
A tongue, that can cheat widows, cancel scores,
Make Scots speak treason, cozen subtlest whores,
With royal favourites in flatt'ry vie,
60 And Oldmixon and Burnet both outlie.
He spies me out; I whisper, Gracious God! What sin of mine could merit such a rod ? That all the shot of dulness now must be From this thy blunderbuss discharg'd on me! 65 Permit (he cries) no stranger to your fame To crave your sentiment, if --'s your name. What speech esteem you most? “ The King's,” said I. But the best words ? _“0, Sir, the dictionary." You miss
my aim; I mean the most acute, 70 And perfect speaker ?_“ Onslow, past dispute.” But, Sir, of writers? “ Swift for closer style, “ But Ho**y for a period of a mile.” Why yes, 'tis granted, these indeed may pass : Good common linguists, and so Panurge was ; 75 Nay troth th' apostles (tho' perhaps too rough) Had once a pretty gift of tongues enough: Yet these were all poor gentlemen! I dare Affirm, 'twas travel made them what they were.
That I was fain to say, If you had liv'd, Sir,
Time enough to have been interpreter
To Babel's bricklayers, sure the tower had stood.
He adds, If of court life you knew the good,
You would leave loneness. I said, Not alone
My loneness is; but Spartanes fashion
To teach by painting drunkards doth not last
Now, Aretines pictures have made few chaste;
No more can princes courts (though there be few
Better pictures of vice) teach me virtue.
He like to a high-stretcht lutestring squeaks, O Sir,
'Tis sweet to talk of kings. At Westminster,
Said I, the man that keeps the Abbey-tombs,
And for his price, doth with whoever comes
Of all our Harrys and our Edwards talk,
From king to king, and all their kin, can walk :
Your ears shall hear nought but kings; your eyes meet
Kings only: The way to it is King's-street.