Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO A STRUMPET, by THOMAS CAREW



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TO A STRUMPET, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Hail, thou true model of a cursed whore
Last Line: That once did know thee in the state of grace.
Subject(s): Prostitution; Harlots; Whores; Brothels


HAIL, thou true model of a cursed whore,
Damn'd by creation ever to live poor,
Though cloth'd in Indian silks, or what may be
Bestow'd in riot on thy venery!
Thou eldest daughter to the Prince of Night,
That canst outlie thy father at first sight,
Outscoff an Ishmaelite, and attempt more
Than all our wicked age hath done before;
Nay, when the Devil leaves thou canst begin,
And teach both him and us new ways to sin,
Making us to conclude that all vile crimes
Are but thy pieces copi'd by thy times.
Sure thou wast born a whore even from the womb
Of some rank bawd, unsavoury as a tomb,
Who, carted from all parishes, did sell
Forbidden fruits in the highway to hell.
There didst thou taste all nations that would crown
Thee with light feathers or a silken gown.
But oh, thou beastly surfeit, may they have
Thee in esteem as the insatiate grave,
Spew thee out of the Strand, and make thee fain
To shelter in the suburbs of Chick-lane:
There mayst thou serve with butchers upon straw,
And still be plagu'd with beadles and the law;
Ne'er mayst thou gain a ninepence to set up
With half an ounce, two bottles and a cup;
Mayst thou each day upon thy bared feet
Trudge for thy bread and drink to Turnbull Street,
Creep to Knockvergus, and there learn the thrift
Of raking dunghills, or some poorer shift.
Wither'd with age, and with diseases cross'd,
The Patient Gristle of thy nose being lost,
May both the hospitals grudge and repine
To give thee one poor plaster to thy groin:
And let no man ever bemoan thy case,
That once did know thee in the state of grace.





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