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Posts Tagged ‘The Prologue’

                    The Prologue

To sing of Wars, of Captaines, and of Kings,
Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun,
For my mean Pent, are too superiour things,
And how they all, or each, their dates have run:
Let Poets, and Historians set these forth,
My obscure Verse, shal not so dim their worth. 

But when my wondring eyes, and envious heart,
Great Bartas sugar’d lines doe but read o’re;
Foole, I doe grudge, the Muses did not part
‘Twixt him and me, that over-fluent store;
A Bartas can, doe what a Bartas wil,
But simple I, according to my skill. 

From School-boyes tongue, no Rhethorick we expect,
Nor yet a sweet Comfort, from broken strings,
Nor perfect beauty, where’s a maine defect,
My foolish, broken, blemish’d Muse so sings;
And this to mend, alas, no Art is able,
‘Cause Nature made it so irreparable. 

Nor can I, like that fluent sweet tongu’d Greek
Who lisp’d at first, speake afterwards more plaine
By Art, he gladly found what he did seeke,
A full requital of his striving paine;
Art can doe much, but this maxime’s most sure,
A weake or wounded braine admits no cure. 

I am obnoxious to each carping tongue,
Who sayes, my hand a needle better fits,
A Poets Pen, all scorne, I should thus wrong;
For such despight they cast on female wits:
If what I doe prove well, it won’t advance,
They’l say its stolne, or else, it was by chance. 

But sure the antick Greeks were far more milde,
Else of our Sex, why feigned they those nine,
And poesy made, Calliope’s owne childe,
So ‘mongst the rest, they plac’d the Arts divine:
But this weake knot they will full soone untye,
The Greeks did nought, but play the foole and lye. 

Let Greeks be Greeks, and Women what they are,
Men have precedency, and still excel,
It is but vaine, unjustly to wage war,
Men can doe best, and Women know it well;
Preheminence in each, and all is yours,
Yet grant some small acknowledgment of ours. 

And oh, ye high flown quils, that soare the skies,
And ever with your pretty, still catch your praise,
If e’re you daigne these lowly lines, your eyes
Give wholesome Parsley wreath, I aske no Bayes:
This meane and unrefined stuffe of mine,
Will make your glistering gold but more to shine.  

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