Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PIETRO ARETINO, by LUCIUS MORRIS BEEBE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PIETRO ARETINO, by            
First Line: Nay, I am free. To copy lesser minds
Last Line: Before he challenge my supremacy.
Subject(s): Aretino, Pietro (1492-1556); Poetry & Poets

Nay, I am free. To copy lesser minds.
Petrarca or Boccaccio, perchance,
For one of my estate were small indeed.
The world -- what of it? Give me but a quill
And half a ream of foolscap to my hand
And I shall mock me of the universe.
For one of my estate were small indeed.
Save women infinite and the defects
Of Venice's half palsied regiment,
Are swift to wreck their purses to buy up
The matter of some idle pasquinade
Or what contempt I void upon their state.
The Scourge of Princess -- aye, they call me that;
No sweeter garland ever crowned the brow
That bore the superscription and relief
Of utter genius. It is said that none
In Italy draws breath or sword but fears
The insolence of my authority.
Sweet mead were that! What would a pen be worth
That might not rate the guerdon of its skill
In minted ducats of an empire's price?
I shall persevere still while prelates pay
And merchant princes open out their vaults
To stifle slander and correct abuse.
If any patron crave the sure defense
Of trenchant missive and impassioned verse.
In short, if he desire me to his train,
I am his man if he be generous,
For say what please you, the humanities
By valor earn a princely recompense.
This is the very fashion of my strength
And I defy you, masters, find the peer
Of Pietro Aretino if you may,
And I will brand him false as hell itself.
Before he challenge my supremacy.

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