Custom, which bids the thief from can harangue∘
All those that come to make and see him hang,
Wills the damned poet (though he knows he's gone)∘
To greet you ere his execution.
But still rejecting wholesome good advice,
He e'en is come to suffer here today
|Not having fear of critic 'fore his eyes,∘ ||5|
For counterfeiting (as you judge) a play,∘
Which is against dread Phoebus highest treason.
You he does mean, who for the selfsame fault
That damning privilege of yours have bought;
|Damned, damning judges, therefore you have reason-- ||10|
So the huge bankers, when they needs must fail,
Send the small brothers of their trade to jail;
Then, more than any, scorn poor men o'th' trade.
You hardened renegado poets, who
|Whilst they, by breaking, gentlemen are made, ||15|
Treat rhyming brother worse than Turk would do,∘
But vent your heathenish rage, hang, draw and quarter:∘
Since for bald jest, dull libel or lampoon
There are who suffer persecution
|His muse will die today a fleering martyr,∘ ||20|
With the undaunted briskness of buffoon,
And strict professors live of raillery,
For those who yet write on, our poet's fate
Should as co-sufferers commiserate;
|Defying porter's lodge or pillory.∘ ||25|
But he in vain their pity now would crave,
Who for themselves (alas) no pity have,
And those, much less, our criminal would spare,
Who ne'er in rhyme transgress--if such there are.∘
|And their own gasping credit will not save.∘ ||30|
Well then, who nothing hopes needs nothing fear;
And he, before your cruel votes shall do it,
|By his despair declares himself no poet. ||35|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Love in a Wood; The Gentleman Dancing-Master; The Country Wife; The Plain Dealer.
Contributors: William Wycherley - Author, Peter Dixon - Editor.
Publisher: Oxford University.
Place of publication: Oxford.
Publication year: 1996.
Page number: 5.
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