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cannot but be unpleasing both to the unskilful and over musical ear; the one being affected with only a shallow and casy matter, the other with a smooth and current disposition : so that I well foresee in the timely publication of these my concealed Satires, I am set upon the rack of many mercilesse and peremptory censures; which, sith the calmest and most plausible writer is almost fatally subject to, in the curiosity of these nicer times, how may I hope to be exempted upon the occasion of so busy and stirring a subject? One thinks it mis-beseeming the author, because a poem; another, unlawful in itself, because a satire ; a third, harmful to others, for the sharpness; and a fourth, unsatire-like, for the mildness : the learned, too perspicuons, being named with Juvenal, Persins, and the other ancient satires: the unlearned, savourless, because too obscure, and obscure, because not under their reach. What a monster must he be that would please all !
“ Certainly look what weather it would be, if every almanac should be verified: much-what like poems, if every fancy should be suited. It is not for this kind to desire or hope to please, which naturally should only find pleasure in displeasing: notwithstanding, if the fault finding with the vices of the time may honestly accord with the good will of the parties, I had as lieve ease my self with a slender 'apology, as wilfully bear the brunt of causeless anger in my silence. For poetry itself, after the so effectual and absolute endeavours of her honoured patrons, either she needeth no new defence, or else might well scorn the offer of so impotent and poor a client. Only for my own part, though were she a more unworthy mistress, I think she might be inoffensively served with the broken messes of our twelve o'clock hours, which homely service she only claimed and found of me, for that short while of my attendance: yet having thus soon taken my solemn farewell of her, and shaked hands with all her retinue, why should it be an eye-sore imto any, sith it can be no loss to my self?
“ For my Satires themselves, I see two obvious cavils to be answered: one concerning the matter; than which I confess none can be more open to danger, to envy; sith faults loath nothing more than the light, and men love nothing more than their faults, and therefore, what through the nature of the faults, and fault of the persons, it is impossible so violent an appeachment should be quietly brooked. But why should vices be unblamed for fear of blame? And if thou mayest spit upon a toad unvenomed, why mayest thou not speak of vice without danger? Especially so warily as I have endeavoured ; who, in the unpartial mention of so many vices, may safely profess to be alto gether guiltless in myself to the intention of any guilty person who might be blemished by the likelihood of my conceived application, thereupon choosing rather to marre mine own verse than another's name : which notwithstanding, if the injurious reader shall wrest to his own spight, and disparaging of others, it is a short answer, Art thou guilty? Complain not, thou art not wronged. Art thau guiltless ? Complain not, thou art not touched. The other, concerning the manner, wherein perhaps too much stooping to the low reach of the vulgar, I shall be thought not to have any whit kindly raught my ancient Roman predecessors, whom in the want of more late and familiar precedents, I am constrained thus far off to imitate: which thing I can be so willing to grant, that I am further ready to warrant my action therein to any indifferent censure. First, therefore, I dare boldly avouch that the English is not altogether so natural to a satire as the Latin ; which I do not impute to the nature of the language itself, being so far from disabling it any way, that methinks I durst equal it to the proudest in every respect; but to that which is common to it with all the other common languages, Italian, French, German, &c. In their poesies, the fettering together the series of the verses, with the bonds of like cadence or desidence of rhyme, which, if it be unusually abrupt, and not dependent in sense upon so near affinity of words, I know not what a loathsome kind of harshness and discordance it breedeth to any judicial ear : which if any more confident adversary shall gainsay, I wish no better trial than the translation of one of Persius's Satires into English the difficulty and dissonance whereof shall make good my assertion : besides, the plain experience thereof in the Satires of Ariosto, (save which, and one base French Satire, I could never attain the view of any for my direction, and that also might for need serve for an excuse at least) whose chain-verse, to which he fettereth himself, as it may well afford a pleasing harmony to the ear, so can it yield nothing but a flashy and loose conceit to the judgment. Whereas the Roman numbers tying but one foot to another, offereth a greater freedom of variety, with much more delight to the reader. Let my second ground be, the well-known dainties of the time, such, that men rather chuse carelesly to lose the sweet of the kernell, than to urge their teeth with breaking the shell wherein it was wrapped: and therefore sith that which is unseen is almost undone, and that is almost unseen which is unconceived, either I would say nothing to be untalked of, or speak with my mouth open that I may be understood. Thirdly, the end of this pains was a satire, but the end of my satire a further good, which whether I attain or no I know not; but let me be plain with the hope of profit, rather than purposely obscure only for a bare name's sake.
“ Notwithstanding, in the expectation of this quarrel, I think my first Satire doth somewhat resemble the sour and crabbed face of Juvenal's, which I, endeavouring in that, did determinately omit in the rest, for these forenamed causes, that so I might have somewhat to stop the mouth of every accuser. The rest to each man's censure : which let be as favourable as so thankless a work can deserve or desire."
It is needless to detain the reader longer, further than to mention, that the three first books are called Toothless Satires, poetical, academical, moral. The three last, Biteing Satires.
NAY; let the prouder pines of Ida feare
Or would we loose her plumy pineon,
Manacled long with bonds of modest feare,
Whose flighty wings are dew'd with wetter aire, The sudden fires of Heaven, and declive
And hopen now to shoulder from above,
And shake your stordy trunks, ye prouder pines,
Eternal trophies to some conquerour,
Whose dead deserts slept in his sepulcher, Stand ye secure, ye safer shrubs below,
And never saw, nor life, nor light before:
Envying at your too disdainful height.
Or scoure the rusted swords of elvish knights, And cow'rdly sbrinke forfeare of causelesse wrongs.
Bathed in Pagan blood, or sheath thein new
In misty moral types; or tell their tights, So wont big oaks feare winding ivy weed :
Who mighty giants, or who monsters slew : So soaring eagles fear the neighbour Sunne:
And by some strange enchanted speare and shield, So golden Mazor wont suspicion breed,
Vanquish'd their foe, and won the doubtful field. Of deadly bemloc's poisoned potion: So adders shroud themselves in fairest leaves: So fouler fate the fairer thing bereaves.
May-be she might in stately stanzas frame
Stories of ladies, and advent'rous knights, Nor the low bush feares climbing ivy twine:
To raise her silent and inglorious name Nor lowly bustard dreads the distant rays:
Unto a reachlesse pitch of praises hight, Nor earthen pot wont secret death to shrine :
And somewhat say, as more unworthy done, Nor subtle snake doth lurk in pathed ways.
Worthy of brasse, and hoary marble stone. Nor baser deed dreads envy and ill tongues, Nor shrinks so soon for fear of causelesse wrongs. Then might vain Envy waste her duller wing,
To trace the airy steps she spiteing sees, Needs me then hope, or doth me need mis-dread: And vainly faint in hopelesse following
Hope for that honour, dread that wrongful spite: The clouded paths her native drusse denies. Spite of the party, honour of the deed,
But now such lowly satires here I sing, Which wont alone on lofty objects light.
Not worth our Muse, not worth her envying,
Too good (if ill) to be expos'd to blame:
So good and ill in fickle censure lies.
The ruder satire should go ragg'd and bare,
And be the second English satirist.
Envy waits on my back, Truth on my side; Pan's seven-fold pipe, some plaintive pastoral ;
Envy will be my page, and Truth my guide, To teach each hollow grore, and shrubby hill,
Envy the margent holds, and Truth the line: Each murmuring brook, each solitary vale Truth doth approve, but Envy doth repine. To sound our love, and to our song accord,
For in this smoothing age wbo durst indite Wearying Echo with one changelesse word.
Hath made his pen an hired parasite,
To claw the back of him that beastly lives, Or list us make two striving shepherds sing,
And pranck base men in proud superlatives. With costly wagers for the victory,
Whencedamned Vice is shrouded quite from shame, Under Menalcas judge; while one doth bring
And crown'd with Virtue's meed, immortal name! A carven bowl well wrought of beechen tree,
Infamy dispossess'd of native due, Praising it by the story, or the frame,
Ordain'd of old on looser life to sue: Or want of use, or skilful maker's name.
The world's eye-bleared with those shameless lyes,
Mask'd in the show of meal-mouth'd poesies. Another layeth a well-marked lamb,
Go, daring Muse, on with thy thanklesse task, Or spotted kid, or some more forward steere,
And do the ugly face of Vice unmask: And from the paile doth praise their fertile dam;
And if thou canst not thine high flight remit, So do they strive in doubt, in hope, in feare,
So as it mought a lowly satire fit, Awaiting for their trusty umpire's doome,
Let lowly satires rise aloft to thee: Faulted as false by him that 's overcome.
Truth be thy speed, and Truth thy patron be. Whether so me list my lovely thought to sing,
Come dance, ye nimble Dryads, by my side,
Nor fright the reader with the pagan vaunt Or whether list me sing so personate,
Of mightie Mahound, and great Termagaunt. My striving selfe to conquer with my verse, Nor list / sonnet of my mistress' face, Speake, ye attentive swains that heard me late, To paint some Blowesse with a borrowed grace;
Needs me give grasse unto the conquerors. Nor can I bide to pep some hungrie scene At Colin's feet I throw my yielding reed,
For thick-skin ears, and undiscerning eyne. But let the rest win homage by their deed. Nor ever could my scornful Muse abide
With tragic shoes her ankles for to hide. But now (ye Muses) sith your sacred hests Nor can I crouch, and writhe my fawning tayle
Profaned are by each presuming tongue; To some great patron, for my best avayle. In scornful rage I vow this silent rest,
Such hunger-starven trencher-poetrie,
Nor under every bank and every tree,
Nor carol out so pleasing lively laies,
Of ivy mix'd with bays. circling around
Their living temples likewise laurel-bound.
Rather bad I, albe in careless rhymes, Dum satyræ dixi, videor dixisse sat iræ
Check the mis-order'd world, and lawless times. Corripio; aut istäc non satis est satyra.
Nor need I crave the Muse's midwifry,
To bring to light so worthless poetry: la facit satyram, reliquum sat temperat iram; Or if we list, what baser Muse can bide,
Pinge tuo satyram sanguine, tum satyra est. To sit and sing by Granta's vaked side? Ecce novam satyram: satyrum sine cornibus! Euge
Monstra novi monstri hæc, et satyri et satyræ. Earl of Surrey, Wyat, Sidney, Dyer, &c.