Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN INVECTIVE AGAINST THE WORLD, SELECTION, by NICHOLAS BRETON



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AN INVECTIVE AGAINST THE WORLD, SELECTION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Let but a fellow in a fox-furred gown
Last Line: Yet virtue makes the truest kings and queens.


Let but a fellow in a fox-furred gown,
A greasy night-cap and a drivelled beard,
Grow but a bailiff of a fisher-town,
And have a matter 'fore him to be heard,
Will not his frown make half a street afeared?
Yea, and the greatest Codshead gape for fear
He shall be swallowed by this ugly bear.

Look but on beggars going to the stocks,
How master constable can march before them,
And while the beadle maketh fast the locks,
How bravely he can knave them and be-whore them,
And not afford one word of pity for them,
When it may be poor honest silly people
Must make the church make curtsy to the steeple.

Note but the beadle of a beggars' Spittle,
How in his place he can himself advance,
And will not of his title lose a tittle,
If any matter come in variance,
To try the credit of his countenance;
For whatsoever the poor beggars say
His is the word must carry all away.

Find out a villain, born and bred a knave,
That never knew what honesty became,
A drunken rascal and a doggéd slave,
That all his wits to wickedness doth frame,
And only lives in infamy and shame;
Yet let him tink upon the golden pan,
His word may pass yet for an honest man.

Look on old Beatrice with her beetle brows,
Begot betwixt a tinker and his Tib,
And but of late a silly cobbler's spouse;
If she have played the thrifty prowling scrib
To purchase grass to grase the bullock's rib,
She shall be fed with fine and dainty fare,
And wooed and wedded ere she be aware.

But for a poor wench, be she ne'er so fair,
Gracious and virtuous, wise and nobly born,
And worthy well to sit in Honour's chair,
Yet, if her kirtle or her gown be torn,
All her good gifts shall but be held in scorn,
And she, poor soul, in sorrow and disgrace,
Be forced to give a filthy baggage place.

So that by all these consequents I see
It is the money makes or mars the man,
And yet where judges will indifferent be
The hobby-horse best fits Maid Marian,
While greedy dogs may lick the dripping pan;
For though that money may do many things,
Yet virtue makes the truest kings and queens.





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