A Comicall Satyre.
OVID. Giue me, how neere's my father ?
LVSC. Hart a'man : get a law-booke in your hand, I will not answere you else. Why so : now there's some formalitie in you. By IOVE, and three or foure of the gods more, I am right of mine olde masters humour for that ; this villanous poetrie will vndoe you, by the welkin.
OVID. What, hast thou buskins on, LVSCVS, that thou swear'st so tragically, and high ?
LVSC. No, but I haue bootes on, sir, and so ha's your father too by this time : for he call'd for 'hem, ere I came from the lodging.
OVID. Why ? was he no readier ?
LVSC. O no ; and there was the madde skeldring captaine, with the veluet armes, readie to lay hold on him as hee comes downe : he that presses euerie man he meets, with an oath, to lend him money, and cries ; (Thou must doo't, old boy, as thou art a man, a man of worship.)
OVID. Who ? PANTILIVS TVCCA ?|
LVSC. I, hee : and I met little master LVPVS, the Tribune, going thither too.
OVID. Nay, and he be vnder their arrest, I may (with safetie inough) reade ouer my elegie, before he come.
LVSC. Gods a mee ! What'll you doe ? why, young master, you are not castalian mad, lunatike, frantike, desperate ? ha ?
OVID. What ailest thou, LVSCVS ?
LVSC. God be with you, sir, I'le leaue you to your poeticall fancies, and furies. I'le not be guiltie, I.
OVID. Be not, good ignorance : I'm glad th'art gone :
For thus alone, our eare shall better judge
The hastie errours of our morning muse.
OVID Senior, OVID
Iunior, LVSCVS, TVCCA,
OVID. iu. No, sir.
OVID. se. Yes, sir. I heare of a tragoedie of yours comming foorth for the common players there, call'd MEDEA. By my houshold-gods, if I come to the acting of it, Ile adde one tragick part, more then is yet expected, to it : beleeue me when I promise it. What ? shall I haue my sonne a stager now ? an enghle for players ? a gull ? a rooke ? a shot-clogge ? to make suppers, and bee laught at ? PVBLIVS, I will set thee on the funerall pile, first.
OVID. iu. Sir, I beseech you to haue patience.
LVSC. Nay, this tis to haue your eares damm'd vp to good counsell. I did augure all this to him afore-hand, without poring into an oxes panch for the matter, and yet he would not be scrupulous.
TVCC. How now, good man slaue ? what, rowle powle ? all riualls, rascall ? why my Master, of worship, do'st heare ? Are these thy best proiects ? is this thy desseignes and thy discipline, to suffer knaues to bee competitors with commanders and gentlemen ? are wee paralells, rascall ? are wee paralells ?
OVID. se. Sirrah, goe get my
horses ready. You'll still be prating.|
TVCC. Doe, you perpetuall stinkard, doe, goe, talke to tapsters and ostlers, you slaue, they are i' your element, goe : here bee the Emperours captaines, you raggamuffin rascall ; and not your cam'rades.
LVPV. Indeed, MARCVS OVID, these players are an idle generation, and doe much harme in a state, corrupt yong gentrie very much, I know it : I haue not beene a Tribune thus long, and obseru'd nothing : besides, they will rob vs, vs, that are magistrates, of our respect, bring vs vpon their stages, and make vs ridiculous to the plebeians ; they will play you, or me, the wisest men they can come by still ; me : only to bring vs in contempt with the vulgar, and make vs cheape.
TVCC. Th'art in the right, my venerable cropshin, they will indeede : the tongue of the oracle neuer twang'd truer. Your courtier cannot kisse his mistris slippers, in quiet, for 'hem : nor your white innocent gallant pawne his reuelling sute, to make his punke a supper. An honest decayed commander, cannot skelder, cheat, nor be seene in a bawdie house, but be shall be straight in one of their wormewood comoedies. They are growne licentious, the rogues ; libertines, flat libertines. They forget they are i' the statute, the rascals, they are blazond there, there they are trickt, they and their pedigrees ; they neede no other heralds, I wisse.
OVID. se. Mee thinkes, if nothing else, yet this alone, the very reading of the publike edicts should fright thee from commerce with them ; and giue thee distate enough of their actions. But this betrayes what a student you are : this argues your proficiencie in the law.
OVID. iu. They wrong mee, sir, and doe abuse you more,
That blow your eares with these vntrue reports.
I am not knowne vnto the open stage,
Nor doe I traffique in their theaters
Indeed, I doe acknowledge, at request
Of some neere friends, and honorable Romanes,
I haue begunne a poeme of that nature.
OVID. se. You haue, sir, a
poeme ? and where is't ? that's the law you studie.|
OVID. iu. CORNELIVS GALLVS borrowed it to reade.
OVID. se. CORNELIVS GALLVS ? There's another gallant, too, hath drunke of the same poison : and TIBVLLVS, and PROPERTIVS. But these are gentlemen of meanes, and reuenew now. Thou art a yonger brother, and hast nothing, but thy bare exhibition : which I protest shall bee bare indeed, if thou forsake not these vnprofitable by-courses, and that timely too. Name me a profest poet, that his poetrie did euer afford him so much as a competencie. I, your god of poets there (whom all of you admire and reuerence so much) HOMER, he whose worme-eaten statue must not bee spewd against, but with hallowed lips, and groueling adoration, what was he ? what was he ?
TVCC. Mary, I'le tell thee, old swaggrer ; He was a poore, blind, riming rascall, that liu'd obscurely vp and downe in boothes, and taphouses, and scarce euer made a good meale in his sleepe, the whoorson hungrie begger.
OVID. se. He saies well : Nay, I know this nettles you now, but answere me ; Is't not true ? you'le tell me his name shall liue ; and that (now being dead) his workes haue eternis'd him, and made him diuine. But could this diuinitie feed him, while he liu'd ? could his name feast him ?
TVCC. Or purchase him a Senators reuenue ? could it ?
OVID. se. I, or giue him place in the common-wealth ? worship, or attendants ? make him be carried in his litter ?
TVCC. Thou speakest sentences, old BIAS.
LVPV. All this the law will doe, yong sir, if youle follow it.
OVID. se. If he be mine, hee
shall follow and obserue, what I will apt him too, or, I professe here
openly, and vtterly to disclaime in him.|
OVID. iu. Sir, let me craue you will, forgoe these moodes ;
I will be any thing, or studie any thing :
I'le proue the vnfashion'd body of the law
Pure elegance, and make her ruggedst straines
Runne smoothly, as PROPERTIVS elegies.
OVID. se. PROPERTIVS elegies ? good !
LVPV. Nay, you take him too quickly, MARCVS.
OVID. se. Why, he cannot speake, he cannot thinke out of poetrie, he is bewitcht with it.
LVPV. Come, doe not mis-prize him.
OVID. se. Mis-prise ? I, mary, I would haue him vse some such wordes now : They haue some touch, some taste of the law. Hee should make himselfe a stile out of these, and let his PROPERTIVS elegies goe by.
LVPV. Indeed, yong PVBLIVS, he that will now hit the marke, must shoot thorough the law, we haue no other planet raignes, & in that spheare, you may sit, and sing with angels. Why, the law makes a man happy, without respecting any other merit : a simple scholer, or none at all may be a lawyer.
TVCC. He tells thee true, my noble Neophyte; my little Grammaticaster, he do's : It shall neuer put thee to thy Mathematiques, Metaphysiques, Philosophie, and I know not what suppos'd sufficiencies ; If you canst but haue the patience to plod inough, talke, and make noise inough, be impudent inough, and 'tis inough.
LVPV. Three bookes will furnish you.
TVCC. And the lesse arte, the better : Besides, when it shall be in the power of thy cheu'rill conscience, to doe right, or wrong, at thy pleasure, my pretty ALCIBIADES.
LVPV. I, and to haue better men then himselfe by many thousand degrees, to obserue him, and stand bare.
TVCC. True, and he to carry himselfe proud, and stately, and haue the law on his side for't, old Boy.
OVID. se. Well, the day growes old, gentlemen, and I must leaue you. PVBLIVS, if thou wilt hold my fauour, abandon these idle fruitlesse studies that so bewitch thee. Send IANVS home his back-face againe, and looke only forward to the law; Intend that : I will allow thee, what shall sute thee in the ranke of gentlemen, and maintaine thy societie with the best : and vnder these conditions, I leaue thee. My blessings light vpon thee, if thou respect them : if not, mine eyes may drop for thee, but thine owne heart wil ake for it selfe ; and so farewel, What, are my horses come ?
OVID. iu. I'le giue
attendance on you, to your horse, sir, please you --|
OVID. se. No : keepe your chamber, and fall to your studies ; doe so : the gods of Rome blesse thee.
OVID. iu. And giue me stomacke to digest this law,
That should haue followed sure, had I beene he.
O sacred poesie, thou spirit of Romane artes,
The soule of science, and the queene of soules,
What prophane violence, almost sacriledge,
Hath here beene offered thy diuinities !
That thine owne guiltlesse pouertie should arme
Prodigious ignorance to wound thee thus !
For thence, is all their force of argument
Drawne forth against thee ; or from the abuse
Of thy great powers in adultrate braines :
When, would men learne but to distinguish spirits,
And set true difference twixt those jaded wits
That runne a broken pase for common hire,
And the high raptures of a happy Muse,
Borne on the wings of her immortall thought,
That kickes at earth with a disdainefull heele,
And beats at heauen gates with her bright hooues ;
They would not then with such distorted faces,
And desp'rate censures stab at poesie.
They would admire bright knowledge and their minds
Should ne're descend on so vnworthy obiects,
As gold, or titles : they would dread farre more,
To be thought ignorant, then be knowne poore.
" The time was once, when with drown'd wealth : but now,
" Your onely barbarisme is t'haue wit, and want.
" No matter now in vertue who excells,
" He, that hath coine, hath all perfection else.
[@ Jonson, Workes 277-82]