Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO HE LONDON READER, ON ODCOMBIAN WRITER, POLYTOPIAN THOMAS, by BEN JONSON



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TO HE LONDON READER, ON ODCOMBIAN WRITER, POLYTOPIAN THOMAS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Whoever he be, would write a story at
Last Line: The height, let him learn of mr tom coriat.
Subject(s): Coriat, Thomas (1577-1617); Coriate, Thomas


Whoever he be, would write a story at
The height, let him learn of Mr Tom Coriat;
Who, because his matter in all should be meet,
To his strength, hath measured it out with his feet.
And that, say philosophers, is the best model.
Yet who could have hit on it but the wise noddle
Of our Odcombian, that literate elf?
To line out no stride, but paced by himself?
And allow you for each particular mile,
By the scale of his book, a yard of his style?
Which, unto all ages, for his will be known,
Since he treads in no other man's steps but his own.
And that you may see he most luckily meant
To write it with the self-same spirit he went,
He says to the world, let any man mend it,
In five months he went it, in five months he penned it.
But who will believe this, that chanceth to look
The map of his journey, and sees in his book,
France, Savoy, Italy, and Helvetia,
The Low Countries, Germany, and Rhetia,
There named to be travelled? For this our Tom saith:
Pies on it, you have his historical faith.
Each leaf of his journal, and line doth unlock
The truth of his heart there, and tells what o'clock
He went out at each place, and at what he came in,
How long he did stay, at what sign he did inn.
Besides, he tried ship, cart, wagon, and chair,
Horse, foot, and all but flying in the air:
And therefore however the travelling nation,
Or builders of story have oft imputation
Of lying, he fears so much the reproof
Of his foot, or his pen, his brain, or his hoof,
That he dares to inform you, but somewhat meticulous,
How scabbed, how ragged, and how pediculous
He was in his travel, how like to be beaten,
For grapes he had gathered, before they were eaten.
How fain for his venery he was to cry Tergum O,
And lay in straw with the horses at Bergamo,
How well, and how often his shoes too were mended,
That sacred to Odcombe are now there suspended,
I mean that one pair, wherewith he so hobbled
From Venice to Flushing, were not they well cobbled?
Yes. And thanks God in his 'pistle or his book
How many learned men he have drawn with his hook
Of Latin and Greek, to his friendship. And seven
He there doth protest he saw of the eleven.
Nay more in his wardrobe, if you will laugh at a
Jest, he says. Item one suit of black taffeta
Except a doublet, and bought of the Jews:
So that not them, his scabs, lice, or the stews,
Or anything else that another should hide,
Doth he once dissemble, but tells he did ride
In a cart 'twixt Montrell and Abbeville.
And being at Flushing enforced to feel
Some want, they say in a sort he did crave:
I writ he only his tail there did wave;
Which he not denies. Now being so free,
Poor Tom, have we cause to suspect just thee?
No: as I first said, who would write a story at
The height, let him learn of Mr Tom Coriat.





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