Your commands for the gathering of these sticks into a faggot had sooner been obeyed, but, that intending to present you with my whole vintage, I stayed till the latest grapes were ripe; for here your ladyship hath not only all I have done, but all I ever mean to do of this kind. Not but that I may defend the attempt I have made upon poetry, by the examples (not to trouble you with history) of many wise and worthy persons of our own times; as Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Fra: Bacon, Cardinal Perron (the ablest of his countrymen), and the former Pope, who, they say, instead of the Triple Crown, wore sometimes the poet's ivy, as an ornament, perhaps, of less weight and trouble. But, madam, these nightingales sung only in the spring; it was the diversion of their youth; as ladies learn to sing and play whilst they are children, what they forget when they are women. The resemblance holds further; for, as you quit the lute the sooner because the posture is suspected to draw the body awry, so this is not always practised without some violence to the mind; wresting it from present occasions, and accustoming us to a style somewhat removed from common use. But, that you may not think his case deplorable who has made verses, we are told that Tully (the greatest wit among the Romans) was once sick of this disease; and yet recovered so well, that of almost as bad a poet as your servant, he became the most peffect orator in the world. So that, not so much to have made verses, as not to give over in time, leaves a man without excuse; the former presenting us at least with an opportunity of doing wisely, that is, to conceal those we have made; which I shall yet do, if my humble request may be of as much force with your ladyship, as your commands have been with me. Madam, I only whisper these in your ear; if you publish them, they become your own; and therefore, as you apprehend the reproach of a wit and a poet, cast them into the fire; or, if they come where green boughs are in the chimney, with the help of your fair friends (for thus bound, it will be too stubborn a task for your hands alone), tear them in pieces, wherein you shall honour me with the fate of Orpheus; for so his poems, whereof we only hear the fame (not his limbs, as the story would have it), I suppose were scattered by the Thracian dames. Here, madam, I might take an opportunity to celebrate your virtues, and to instruct the unhappy men that knew you not, who you are, how much you excel the most excellent of your own, and how much you amaze the least inclined to wonder of our sex. But as they will be apt to take your ladyship's for a Roman himselfe they are expos'd to the wide world, to travell, and try their fortunes! And I beleeve there is no gentle soule that pretends anything to knowledge and the choycest sort of invention but will give them entertainment and wellcome.