Thomas Bastard

T
Thomas Bastard
Book 1, Epigram 34: Ad. Thomam Freake armig. de veris adventu.  
The welcome Sun from seaFreakeis returned,
And cheereth with his beams the naked earth,
Which gains with his coming her apparel
And had his absence six long months mourned.
Out of her fragrant sides she sends to greet him
The rashed primrose and the violet;
While she the fields and meadows doth beset
With flowers, and hangs the trees with pearl to meet him.
Amid this hope and joy she doth forget,
To kill the hemlock which doth grow too fast,
And chill the adder making too much haste,
With his black sons revived with the heat;
Till summer comes with diverse colours clad,
Much like my Epigrams both good and bad.

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Book 1, Epigram 39: Ad librum suum.
My little book: who will thou please, tell me?
All which shall read thee? No that cannot be.
Whom then, the best? But few of these are known.
How shall thou know to please, thou know'st not whom?
The meaner sort commend not poetry;
And sure the worst should please themselves for thee:
But let them pass, and set by most no store,
Please thou one well, thou shall not need please more.

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Book 1, Epigram 5: Ad lectorem de subjecto operis sui.
The little world, the subject of my muse,
Is a huge task and labor infinite;
Like to a wilderness or mass confuse,
Or to an endless gulf, or to the night:
How many strangeMeandersdo I find?
How many paths do turn my straying pen?
How many doubtful twilights make me blind,
Which seek to limb out this strange All of men?
Easy it were the earth to portray out,
Or to draw forth the heavens’ purest frame,
Whose restless course, by order whirls about
Of change and place, and still remains the same.
But how shall man’s, or manner’s, form appear,
Which while I write, do change from what they were?

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Book 2, Epigram 21: In Momum.
Momus, to be a Poet Laureate,
Has strained his wits through an iron grate.
For he has rhymes and rhymes, and double strains,
And golden verses, and all kinds of veins,
Now to the press he presses hastily,
To sell his friends stinking eternity.
For who would be eternal in such fashion,
To be a witness to his condemnation.

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Book 2, Epigram 22
I met a courtier riding on the plain,
Well-mounted on a brave and gallant steed;
I sat upon a jade, and spurred to my pain
My lazy beast, whose tired sides did bleed:
He saw my case, and then of courtesy
Did rein his horse, and drew the bridle in,
Because I did desire his company:
But he corvetting way of me did win.
What should I do, who was besteaded so?
His horse stood still faster than mine could go.

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Book 2, Epigram 4: Ad Henricum Wottonum.  
Wotton,the country and the country swain,
How can they yield a Poet any sense?
How can they stir him up, or heat his vein?
How can they feed him with intelligence?
You have that fire which can a wit enflame,
In happy London England’s fairest eye:
Well may you Poets’ have of worthy name,
Which have the food and life of Poetry.
And yet the country or the town may sway,
Or bear a part, as clowns do in a play.

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Book 2, Epigram 40: De libro suo.
One said my book was like unto a coat,
Of diverse colours black and red and white.
I, bent to cross him, said he spoke by rote.
For they in making rather are unlike.
A coat, one garment made of many fleeces:
My book, one meaning cut into many pieces.

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Book 2, Epigram 8
Walking the fields a wantcatcher I spied,
To him I went, desirous of his game:
Sir, have you taken wants? Yes, he replied,
Here are a dozen, which were lately ta’en.
Then you have left no more. No more? quoth he.
Sir I can show you more: the more the worse;
And to his work he went, but 'twould not be,
For all the wants were crept into my purse.
Farewell friend wantcatcher, since 'twill not be,
Thou cannot catch the wants, but they catch me.

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Book 3, Epigram 36
The peasant Corus of his wealth does boast,
Yet he’s scarce worth twice twenty pounds at most.
I chanc’d to word once with this lowly swain,
He called me base, and beggar in disdain.
To try the truth hereof I rate myself,
And cast the little count of all my wealth.
See how much Hebrew, Greek, and Poetry,
Latin Rhetoric, and Philosophy,
Reading, and sense in sciences profound,
All valued, are not worth forty pounds.

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Book 4, Epigram 7: "Our fathers did but use the world before"
Our fathers did but use the world before,
And having used did leave the same to us.
We spill whatever resteth to their store.
What can our heirs inherit but our curse?
For we have sucked the sweet and sap away,
And sowed consumption in the fruitful ground;
The woods and forests clad in rich array
With nakedness and baldness we confound.
We have defaced the lasting monuments,
And caused all honour to have end with us;
The holy temples feel our ravishments.
What can our heirs inherit but our curse?
The world must end, for men are so accurst;
Unless God end it sooner, they will first.
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Book 5, Epigram 20: In Misum & Mopsam.
Misus and Mopsa hardly could agree,
Striving about superiority.
The text which says that man and wife are one,
Was the chief argument they stood upon.
She held they both one woman should become,
He held both should be man, and both but one.
So they contended daily, but the strife
Could not be ended, till both were one wife.

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Book 6, Epigram 14: De Piscatione.
Fishing, if I a fisher may protest,
Of pleasures is the sweetest, of sports the best,
Of exercises the most excellent.
Of recreations the most innocent.
But now the sport is marred, and what, ye, why?
Fishes decrease, and fishers multiply.

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Book 6, Epigram 17: In Sextum.
Sextus upon a spleen, did rashly swear,
That no new fashion he would ever wear.
He was forsworn, for see what did ensue,
He wore the old, till the old was the new.

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Book 6, Epigram 30
Upon the plain as I rode all alone,
Assaulted by two sturdy lads I was;
I am a poor man Sires, let me be gone.
Nay, but ye shall be poor before ye pass.
And so I was: yet lost nothing thereby.
Would they had robbed me of my poverty.

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Book 6, Epigram 7: In prophanationem nominis Dei.
God’s name is bare of honour in our hearing,
And even worn out with our blasphemous swearing.
Between the infant and the aged, both
The first and last they utter, is an oath.
Oh hellish manners of our profane age.
Jehovah’s fear is scoffed upon the stage,
The Mimicking jester, names it every day;
Unless God is blashphem’d, it is no play.

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Book 7, Epigram 36: De puero balbutiente.
Methinks 'tis pretty sport to hear a child,
Rocking a word in mouth yet undefiled.
The tender racket rudely plays the sound,
Which weakly banded cannot back rebound,
And the soft air the softer roof does kiss,
With a sweet dying and a pretty miss,
Which hears no answer yet from the white rank
Of teeth, not risen from their coral bank.
The alphabet is searched for letters soft,
To try a word before it can be wrought,
And when it slides forth, it goes as nice,
As when a man does walk upon the ice.

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Book 7, Epigram 42
Our vice runs beyond all that old men saw,
And far authentically above our laws,
And scorning virtues safe and golden mean,
Sits uncontrolled upon the high extreme.
Circes, thy monsters painted out the hue,
Of feigned filthiness, but ours is true.
Our vice puts down all proverbs and all themes,
Our vice excels all fables and all dreams.

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Book 7, Epigram 47: De Hominis Ortu & Sepultura.
Nature which headlong into life doth throw us,
With our feet forward to our grave doth bring us,
What is less ours, than this our borrowed breath,
We stumble into life, we go to death.

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Book 7, Epigram 9: De senectute & iuuentute.
Age is deformed, youth unkind,
We scorn their bodies, they our mind.

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