Virgidemiarum Sixe Bookes
First three Bookes,
Of Tooth-lesse Satyrs.
Printed by John Harison, for Robert
PUBLISHED BY John Harison
PUBLISHED FOR Robert Dexter
For shame write better Labeo, or write none,
Or better write, or Labeo write alone,
Nay call the Cynick but a wittie foole,
Tnence to abjure his handsome drinking bole:
Because the thirstie swaine with hollow hand,
Conveied the streame to weet his drie weasand.
Write they that can, tho they that cannot, doe:
But who knowes that, but they that do not know.
Lo what it is that makes white rags so deare,
That men must give a teston for a queare.
Lo what it is that makes goose-wings so scant,
That the distressed Semster did them want,
So, lavish ope-tyde causeth fasting-lents,
And starveling Famine comes of large expence.
Might not (so they where pleasd that beene above)
Long 'Paper-abstinence our death remove?
Then manie a Lollerd would in forfaitment,
Beare Paper-fagots ore the Pavement.
But now men wager who shall blot the most,
And each man writes. Ther's so much lobour lost,
That's good, that's great: Nay much is sildome well,
Of what is bad, a littl's a greate deale.
Better is more: but best is nought at all.
Lesse is the next, and lesser criminall.
Little and good, is greatest good save one,
Then Labeo, or write little or write none.
Tush but small paynes can be but little art,
Or lode full drie-fats fro the forren mart.
With Folio-volumes, two to an Oxe hide,
Or else ye Pamphleter go stand a side,
Reade in each Schoole, in everie margent coted,
In everie Catalogue for an autour noted.
There's happinesse well given, and well got,
Lesse gifts, and lesser gaines I weigh them not.
Some say my Satyres over-loosely flowe,
Nor hide their gall inough from open showe:
Not riddle like, obscuring their intent;
But packe-staffe plaine, uttring what thing they ment:
Contrarie to the Roman ancients,
Whose words were short, and darkesome was their sence.
Who reades one line of their harsh poesies,
Thrise must he take his winde, and breath him thrise.
My Muse would follow them that have fore-gone,
But cannot with an English pineon,
For looke how farre the ancient Comedie
Past former Satyres in her libertie:
So farre must mine yeeld unto them of olde.
'Tis better be too bad, then be too bolde.
TIme was, and that was term'd the time of Gold,
When world and time were young, that now are old.
(When quiet Saturne swaid the mace of lead,
And Pride was yet unborne, and yet unbred.)
Time was, that whiles the Autumne fall did last,
Our hungrie sires gapte for the falling mast of the Dodonian oakes.
Could no unhusked Akorne leave the tree,
But there was challenge made whose it might be.
And if some nice and licorous appetite,
Desir'd more daintie dish of rare delite,
They scal'd the stored Crab with clasped knee,
Till they had sated their delicious eye:
Or search'd the hopefull thicks of hedgy-rowes,
For brierie berries, or hawes, or sowrer sloes:
Or when they meant to fare the fin'st of all,
They lickt oake-leaves besprint with hony fall.
As for the thrise three-angled beech nut-shell,
Or chesnuts armed huske, and hid kernell,
No Squire durst touch, the law would not afford,
Kept for the Court, and for the kings owne bord.
Their royall Plate was clay, or wood, or stone:
The vulgar, save his hand, else had he none.
Their onely seller was the neighbour brooke.
None did for better care, for better looke.
Was then no playning of the Brewers scape,
Nor greedie Vintner mixt the strained grape.
The kings pavilion, was the grassy green,
Under safe shelter of the shadie treen.
Under each banke men layd their lims along,
Not wishing anie ease, not fearing wrong:
Clad with their owne, as they were made of old,
Not fearing shame, not feeling anie cold,
But when by Ceres huswifrie and paine,
Men learn'd to burie the reviving graine:
And father Janus taught the new found vine,
Rise on the Elme, with many a friendly twine..
And base desire bad men to delven low,
For needlesse mettals: then gan mischiefe grow.
Then farwell fayrest age, the worlds best dayes:
Thriving in ill as it in age decaies.
Then crept in Pride, and peevish Covetise:
And men grue greedie, discordous and nice.
Now man, that earst Haile fellow was with beast,
Woxe on to weene himselfe a God at least.
No aerie foule can take so high a flight,
Tho she her daring wings in clouds have dight:
Nor fish can dive so deepe in yeelding Sea.
Tho Thetis-selfe should sweare her safetie:
Nor fearfull beast can dig his cave so lowe,
All could he further then earths center go:
As that the ayre, the earth, or Ocean,
Sould shield them from the gorge of greedie man.
Hath utmost Inde ought better then his owne?
Then utmost Inde is neare, and rife to gone.
O Nature: was the world ordain'd for nought,
But fill mans maw, and feede mans idle thought?
Thy Grandsires words savor'd of thriftie Leekes,
Or manly Garlicke, But thy furnace reekes,
Hote steams of wine: and can a loofe descrie
The drunken draughts of sweete Autumnitie.
They naked went: or clad in ruder hide:
Or home-spun Russet, void of forraine pride:
But thou canst maske in garish gauderie,
To suit a fooles far-fetched liverie.
A French head joyn'd to necke Italian:
Thy thighs from Germanie, and brest fro Spains:
An Englishman in none, a foole in all:
Many in one, and one in severall.
Then men were men, but now the greater part
Beasts are in life, and women are in heart.
Good Saturne selfe, that homely Emperour?
In proudest pompe was not so clad of yore,
As is the under-groome of the Ostlerie,
Husbanding it in work-day yeomanrie.
Lo the long date of those expired daies,
Which the inspired Merlins word fore-saies:
When dunghill Pesants shall be dight as kings,
Then one confusion another brings:
Then farewell fairest age, the worlds best daies,
Thriving in ill, as it in age decaies.