Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SMECTYMNUUS, OR THE CLUB-DIVERS, by JOHN CLEVELAND

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

SMECTYMNUUS, OR THE CLUB-DIVERS, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Smectymnuus! The goblin makes me start!
Last Line: And stretch her patent to your leather ears!
Subject(s): Milton, John (1608-1674); Religion; Theology

SMECTYMNUUS! The goblin makes me start!
I' th' name of Rabbi Abraham, what art?
Syriac? or Arabic? or Welsh? what skill't?
Ap all the bricklayers that Babel built,
Some conjurer translate and let me know it;
Till then 'tis fit for a West Saxon poet.
But do the brotherhood then play their prizes
Like mummers in religion with disguises,
Out-brave us with a name in rank and file?
A name, which, if 'twere trained, would spread a mile!
The saints' monopoly, the zealous cluster
Which like a porcupine presents a muster
And shoots his quills at bishops and their sees,
A devout litter of young Maccabees!
Thus Jack-of-all-trades hath devoutly shown
The Twelve Apostles on a cherry-stone;
Thus faction 's a la mode in treason's fashion,
Now we have heresy by complication.
Like to Don Quixote's rosary of slaves
Strung on a chain; a murnival of knaves
Packed in a trick, like gipsies when they ride,
Or like colleagues which sit all of a side.
So the vain satyrists stand all a row
As hollow teeth upon a lute-string show.
Th' Italian monster pregnant with his brother,
Nature's diaeresis, half one another,
He, with his little sides-man Lazarus,
Must both give way unto Smectymnuus.
Next Sturbridge Fair is Smec's; for, lo! his side
Into a five-fold lazar's multiplied.
Under each arm there's tucked a double gizzard;
Five faces lurk under one single vizard.
The Whore of Babylon left these brats behind,
Heirs of confusion by gavelkind.
I think Pythagoras' soul is rambled hither
With all the change of raiment on together.
Smec is her general wardrobe; she'll not dare
To think of him as of a thoroughfare.
He stops the gossiping dame; alone he is
The purlieu of a metempsychosis;
Like a Scotch mark, where the more modest sense
Checks the loud phrase, and shrinks to thirteen pence:
Like to an ignis fatuus whose flame,
Though sometimes tripartite, joins in the same;
Like to nine tailors, who, if rightly spelled,
Into one man are monosyllabled.
Short-handed zeal in one hath cramped many
Like to the Decalogue in a single penny.
See, see how close the curs hunt under sheet
As if they spent in quire and scanned their feet.
One cure and five incumbents leap a truss;
The title sure must be litigious.
The Sadducees would raise a question
Who must be Smec at th' Resurrection.
Who cooped them up together were to blame.
Had they but wire-drawn and spun out their name,
'Twould make another Prentices' Petition
Against the bishops and their superstition.
Robson and French (that count from five to five,
As far as nature fingers did contrive --
She saw they would be 'sessors, that's the cause
She cleft their hoof into so many claws)
May tire their carrot-bunch, yet ne'er agree
To rate Smectymnuus for poll-money.
Caligula -- whose pride was mankind's bail,
As who disdained to murder by retail,
Wishing the world had but one general neck, --
His glutton blade might have found game in Smec.
No echo can improve the author more
Whose lungs pay use on use to half a score.
No felon is more lettered, though the brand
Both superscribes his shoulder and his hand.
Some Welshman was his godfather, for he
Wears in his name his genealogy.
The banns are asked, would but the times give way,
Betwixt Smectymnuus and Et Caetera.
The guests, invited by a friendly summons,
Should be the Convocation and the Commons.
The priest to tie the foxes' tails together
Mosely, or Sancta Clara, choose you whether.
See what an offspring every one expects,
What strange pluralities of men and sects!
One says he'll get a vestry, but another
Is for a synod; Bet upon the mother.
Faith, cry St. George! Let them go to 't and stickle
Whether a conclave or a conventicle.
Thus might religions caterwaul, and spite
Which uses to divorce, might once unite.
But their cross fortunes interdict their trade;
The groom is rampant but the bride displayed.
My task is done, all my he goats are milked.
So many cards i' th' stock, and yet be bilked?
I could by letters now untwist the rabble,
Whip Smec from constable to constable;
But there I leave you to another dressing;
Only kneel down and take your father's blessing.
May the Queen Mother justify your fears
And stretch her patent to your leather ears!

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