Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO MOLIERE, by NICOLAS BOILEAU-DESPREAUX

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TO MOLIERE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A thousand envious wits in vain
Last Line: So much you would not earn their spite.
Alternate Author Name(s): Boileau, Nicolas
Subject(s): Moliere (jean Poquelin) (1622-1673)

A THOUSAND envious wits in vain,
Moliere, presume with false disdain
To censure thy most brilliant page.
Its solid sense, its simple ease,
Will travel on from age to age,
And all posterity shall please.

How pleasantly you laugh or smile,
How learnedly you feel the while.
Did he who laid Numantia low,
And Carthage bowed beneath the yoke,
Whom we by name of Terence know,
Than you more excellently joke?

Your Muse right usefully, as well
As pleasantly, the truth can tell.
All men may profit at your school:
All there, is true and good and fine;
And, while you seem to play the fool,
You teach as a profound divine.

Then let the envious wretches scold;
In vain by them 'tis widely told
You with the vulgar find success,
But are not fit for ears polite.
If you would please a little less,
So much you would not earn their spite.

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