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Let no sober bigot here think it a sin
To push on the chirping and moderate bottle.
Let the contests be rather of books than of wine;
Let the company be neither noisy nor mute; Let none of things serious, much less of divine,
When belly and head's full, profanely dispute.
Let no saucy fiddler presume to intrude,
Unless he is sent for to vary our bliss; With mirth, wit, and dancing, and singing conclude,
To regale every sense, with delight in excess.
Let raillery be without malice or heat;
Dull poems to read let none privilege take; Let no poetaster command or entreat
Another extempore verses to make.
Let argument bear no unmusical sound,
Nor jars interpose, sacred friendship to grieve; For generous lovers let a corner be found,
Where they in soft sighs may their passions relieve.
Like the old Lapithites, with the goblets to fight,
Our own 'mongst offences unpardoned will rank, Or breaking of windows, or glasses, for spite,
And spoiling the goods for a rakehelly prank.
Whoever shall publish what's said, or what's done,
Be he banished for ever our assembly divine. Let the freedom we take be perverted by none,
To make any guilty by drinking good wine.
The Wonderful Beauty Powder Volpone. Lady, I kiss your bounty, and for this timely grace you have done your poor Scoto, of Mantua, I will return you, over and above my oil, a secret of that high and inestimable nature which shall make you for ever enamoured on that minute, wherein your eye first descended on so mean, yet not altogether to be despised, an object. Here is a powder concealed in this paper, of which, if I should speak to the worth, nine thousand volumes were but as one page, that page as a line, that line as a word; so short is this pilgrimage of man, which some call life, to the expression of it. Would I reflect on the price? Why, the whole world is but as an empire, that empire as a province, that province as a bank, that bank as a private purse to the purchase of it. I will only tell you it is the powder that made Venus a goddess, given her by Apollo, that kept her perpetually young, cleared her wrinkles, firmed her gums, filled her skin, coloured her hair, from her derived to Helen, and at the sack of Troy unfortunately lost: till now, in this our age, it was as happily recovered, by a studious antiquary, out of some ruins of Asia, who sent a moiety of it to the Court of France, but much sophisticated, wherewith the ladies there now colour their hair. The rest, at this present, remains with me, extracted to a quintessence; so that, wherever it but touches in youth it perpetually preserves, in age restores the complexion; seats your teeth, did they dance like virginal jacks, firm as a wall; makes them white as ivory, that were black as coal.-“Volpone.”
The Knightly Rhymester
Daw, CLERIMONT, DAUPHINE, and EPICENE.
Cler. Pray, Mistress Epicæne, let's see your verses; we have Sir John Daw's leave. Do not conceal your servant's merit, and your own glories.
Epi. They'll prove my servant's glories, if you have his leave so soon.
Daup. His vain-glories, lady!
Daw. Nay, I'll read them myself, too; an author must recite his own works. It is a madrigal of modesty: “Modest and fair, for fair and good are near
But two in one."
But two in one.
Bright beauty's rays;
And having praised both beauty and modesty,
I have praised thee.” Daup. Admirable! Cler. How it chimes, and cries tink in the close, divinely! Daup. Aye, 'tis Seneca. Cler. No, I think 'tis Plutarch.
Daw. The door on Plutarch and Seneca! I hate it. They are mine own imaginations, by that light. I wonder, those fellows have such credit with gentlemen.
Cler. They are very grave authors.
Daw. Grave asses! Mere essayists! A few loose sentences, and that's all. A man would talk so, his whole age. I do utter as good things every hour, if they were collected and observed, as either of them.
Daup. Indeed, Sir John!
Cler. He must needs—living among the wits and braveries, too.
Daup. Aye, and being president of them, as he is.
Daw. There's Aristotle, a mere commonplace fellow; Plato, a discourser; Thucydides and Livy, tedious and dry; Tacitus, an entire knot-sometimes worth the untying, very seldom.
Cler. What do you think of the poets, Sir John ?
Daw. Not worthy to be named for authors. Homer, an old, tedious, prolix ass, talks of curriers and chines of beef; Virgil, of dunging of land, and bees; Horace, of I know not what.
Cler. I think so.
Daw. And so, Pindarus, Lycophron, Anacreon, Catullus, Seneca the tragedian, Lucian, Propertius, Tibullus, Martial, Juvenal, Ausonius, Statius, Politian, Valerius Flaccus, and the rest.
Cler. What a sack full of their names he has got !
Daup. And how he pours them out! Politian with Valerius Flaccus!
Cler. Was not the character right of him?
Daup. Why, whom do you account for authors, Sir John Daw?
Daw. Syntagma juris civilis; Corpus juris civilis; Corpus juris canonici; the King of Spain's Bible
Daup. Is the King of Spain's Bible an author?
Cler. Aye, both the Corpuses; I knew 'em. They were very corpulent authors.
Daw. And then there's Vatablus, Pomponatius, Symancha. The other are not to be received, within the thought of a scholar.
Daup. (aside). 'Fore God, you have a simple learned servant, lady-in titles.
Cler. I wonder that he is not called to the helm, and made a counsellor.
Daup. He is one extraordinary.
Cler. Nay, but in ordinary. To say truth, the state wants such.
Daup. Why, that will follow.
Cler. I muse a mistress can be so silent to the dotes of such a servant.
Daw. 'Tis her virtue, sir. I have written somewhat of her silence, too.