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His bonnet vail'd, ere ever I could think,
Th’unruly wind blows off his periwink.
He lights and runs, and quickly hath him
To overtake his over-running head.
The sportful wind, to mock the headless man,
Tosses apace his pitch'd Rogerian,
And straight it to a deeper ditch hath blown:
There must my yonker fetch his waxen crown.
I look'd and laugh'd, whiles in his raging mind,
He curst all courtesy and unruly wind.
I look'd and laugh'd, and much I marvelled,
To see so large a causeway in his head;
And me bethought that when it first begon,
'Twas some shroad autumn that so bar'd the bone.
Is 't not sweet pride then, when the crowns must
With that which jerks the hams of every jade,
Or floor-strew'd locks from off the barber's shears?
But waxen crowns well 'gree with borrow'd hairs.
Seest thou how gaily my young master goes,
Vaunting himself upon his rising toes;
In this description of a famished gallant, Hall has rivalled the succeeding humour of Ben Jonson in similar comic portraits. Among the traits of affectation in his finished character, is that of dining with Duke Humphry while he pretends to keep open
And pranks his hand upon his dagger's side;
And picks his glutted teeth since late noon-tide ?
'Tis Ruffio: Trow'st thou where he din'd to-day?
In sooth I saw him sit with Duke Humfrày.
Many good welcomes, and much gratis cheer,
Keeps he for every straggling cavalier.
house, haunted with great resort ;
Long service mixt with musical disport.
Many fair yonker with a feather'd crest,
Chooses much rather be his shot-free guest,
To fare so freely with so little cost,
Than stake his twelvepence to a meaner host.
Hadst thou not told me, I should surely say
He touch'd no meat of all this live-long day.
For sure methought, yet that was but a guess,
His eyes seem'd sunk for very hollowness,
But could he have (as I did it mistake)
So little in his purse, so much upon his back ?
So nothing in his maw? yet seemeth by his belt,
That his gaunt gut no too much stuffing felt.
Seest thou how side it hangs beneath his hip?
Hunger and heavy iron makes girdles slip.
Yet for all that, how stiffly struts he by,
All trapped in the new-found bravery.
The nuns of new-won Calais his bonnet lenty
In lieu of their so kind a conquerment.
Whạt needed he fetch that from farthest Spain,
His grandame could have lent with lesser pain?
Though he perhaps ne'er pass'd the English shore,
Yet fain would counted be a conqueror.
His hair, French-like, stares on his frighted head,
One lock amazon-like dishevelled,
As if he meant to wear a native cord,
If chance his fates should him that bane afford.
All British bare upon the bristled skin,
Close notched is his beard both lip and chin;
His linen collar labyrinthian set,
Whose thousand double turnings never met:
His sleeves half hid with elbow pinionings,
As if he meant to fly with linen wings.
But when I look, and cast mine eyes below,
What monster meets mine eyes in human shew?
So slender waist with such an abbot's loin,
Did never sober nature sure conjoin.
Lik’st a straw scare-crow in the new-sown field,
Rear'd on some stick, the tender corn to shield.
Or if that semblance suit not every deal,
Like a broad shake-fork with a slender steel.
I wot not how the world's degenerate,
That men or know or like not their estate :
Out from the Gades up to th' eastern morn,
Not one but holds his native state forlorn.
When comely striplings wish it were their chance,
For Cænis' distaff to exchange their lance,
And wear curld periwigs, and chalk their face,
And still are poring on their pocket-glass.
Tir'd with pinn'd ruffs and fans, and partlet strips,
And busks and verdingales about their hips;
And tread on corked stilts a prisoner's pace,
And make their napkin for their spitting place,
And gripe their waist within a narrow span :
Fond Cænis, that wouldst wish to be a man!
Whose manish housewives like their refuse state,
And make a drudge of their uxorious mate,
Who like a cot-queen freezeth at the rock,
Whiles his breech'd dame doth man the foreign stock.
The general scope of this satire, as its motto denotes, is directed against the discontent of human beings with their respective conditions. It paints the ambition of the youth to become a man, of the mud orm to rich, of the rustic to become a 'soldier, of the rhymer to appear in print, and of the brain-sick reader of foreign wonders to become a traveller.-E.
Is 't not a shame to see each homely groom
Sit perched in an idle chariot room,
That were not meet some pannel to bestride,
Sursingled to a galled hackney's hide?
Each muck-worm will be rich with lawless gain,
Although he smother up mows of seven years grain,
And hang'd himself when corn grows cheap again;
Although he buy whole harvests in the spring,
And foist in false strikes to the measuring;
Altho' his shop be muffled from the light,
Like a day dungeon, or Cimmerian night;
Nor full nor fasting can the carle take rest,
While his George-Nobles rusten in his chest ;
He sleeps but once, and dreams of burglary,
And wakes, and casts about his frighted eye,
And gropes for thieves in ev'ry darker shade;
And if a mouse but stir, he calls for aid,
The sturdy ploughman doth the soldier see,
All scarfed with pied colours to the knee,
Whom Indian pillage hath made fortunate,
And now he 'gins to loath his former state;
Now doth be inly scorn his Kendal-green,
And his patch'd cockers now despised been ;
Nor list he now go whistling to the car,
But sells his team, and fetleth to the war.
O war! to them that never tried thee, sweet !
When his dead mate falls groveling at his feet,
And angry bullets whistlen at his ear,
And his dim eyes see nought but death and drear.
Oh happy, ploughman! were thy weal well known :
Oh happy all estates, except his own!