To That Noble And True Lover Of Learning
Sir Walter Aston
Knight Of The Bath
This play was never liked, unless by few
That brought their judgments with em; for, of late,
First the infection, then the common prate
Of common people, have such customs got,
Either to silence plays or like them not:
Under the last of which this interlude
Had fallen for ever, pressed down by the rude,
That like a torrent, which the moist south feeds,
Drowns both before him the ripe corn and weeds,
Had not the saving sense of better men
Redeemed it from corruption. Dear sir, then,
Among the better souls, be you the best,
In whom, as in a center, I take rest
And proper being; from whose equal eye
And judgment nothing grows but purity.
Nor do I flatter, for, by all those dead,
Great in the Muses, by Apollos head,
He that adds anything to you, tis done
Like his that lights a candle to the sun:
Then be, as you were ever, yourself still,
Moved by your judgment, not by love or will;
And when I sing again (as who can tell
My next devotion to that holy well?)
Your goodness to the Muses shall be all
Able to make a work heroical.
Given to your service,
To The Inheritor of all Worthiness
Sir William Skipwith
I may prove
But so happy to be thought for
Such a one, whose greatest ease
Is to please,
Worthy sir, Ive all I sought for:
Which some claim
By their verses, do I show it
To the world; nor to protest
Tis the best;
These are lean faults in a poet;
At my need,
Nor to gain acquaintance by it,
Nor to ravish kind attornies
In their journies
Nor to read it after diet.
To build weakness on and pity.
Only to yourself, and such
Whose true touch
Makes all good, let me seem witty.
The admirer of your virtues,
To The Perfect Gentleman
Sir Robert Townshend
Pardon where contrition is,
Noble sir, I needs must have
A long one for a long amiss.
If you ask me, how is this?
Upon my faith, Ill tell you frankly,
You love above my means to thank ye.
As sour fortune loves to use me,
A poor shepherd I have sent
In home-spun gray for to excuse me;
And may all my hopes refuse me,
But when better comes ashore,
You shall have better, newer, more!
Or our three-piled sweet protestors,
I must please you in bare letters,
And so pay my debts, like jesters;
Yet I oft have seen good feasters,
Only for to please the pallet,
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