To the Queen's Majesty, when she found fault with some particular matters in Misacmos' Metamorphosis.
Dread Sov'reign, take this true, though poor excuse
Of all the errors of Misacmos' muse;
A hound that of a whelp myself hath bred,
And at my hand and table taught and fed,
When other curs did fawn and flatter coldly,
Did spring and leap, and play with me too boldly;
For which, although my pages check and rate him,
Yet still myself doth much more love than hate him.
To the Ladies of the Queen's Privy Chamber, at the making of their perfumed Privy at
The book hanged in chains saith thus:
Fair dames, if any took in scorn and spite,
Me, that Misacmos' muse in mirth did write,
To satisfy the sin, lo, here in chains
For aye to hang my master he ordains:
Yet deem the deed to him no derogation,
But doom to this device new commendation;
But here you see, feel, smell, that his conveyance
Hath freed this noisome place from all annoyance:
Now judge you, that the work mock, envy, taunt,
Whose service in this place may make most vaunt:
If us, or you to praise it were most meet,
You that made sour, or us that made it sweet?
Against Lynus, a Writer that found fault with the Metamorphosis.
Lynus, to give me a spiteful frump,
Said that my writings savour'd of the pump;
And that my muse, for want of matter, takes
An argument to write of from the Jakes.
Well, Lynus, speak each reader as he thinks,
Though thou of sceptres wrot'st, and I of sinks;
Yet some will say, comparing both together,
My wit brings matter thence, thine matter thither.
Of Cloacina and Stercutius.
The Romans, ever counted superstitious,
Adored with high titles of divinity,
Dame Cloacina and the lord Stercutius;
Two persons in their state of great affinity:
But we, that scorn opinions so pernicious,
Are taught by truth well try'd t'adore the Trinity;
And whoso care of true religion takes,
Will think such saints well shrined in A JAX.
To the Queen, when she was pacified and had sent Misacmos thanks for the Invention.
A poet once of Trajan begg'd a lease
(Trajan, terror of war, mirror of peace),
And doubting how his writings were accepted,
'Gainst which he heard some courtiers had excepted;
He came to him, and with all due submission,
Deliver'd this short verse with his petition:
Dear Sovereign, if you like not of my writings,
Grant this sweet cordial to a spirit daunted;
But if you read and like my poor inditings,
Then for reward let this small suit be granted.
Of which short verse I find ensu'd such fruit,
The poet of the prince obtain'd his suit.
Book II. Ep. 13.
Against Caius, that scorned his Metamorphosis.
Last day thy mistress, Caius, being present,
One happ'd to name, to purpose not unpleasant,
The title of my misconceived book;
At which you spit, as though you could not brook
So gross a word: but shall I tell the matter
Why? If one names A Jax, your lips do water.
There was the place of your first love and meeting;
There first you gave your mistress such a greeting,
As bred her scorn, your shame, and others laughter,
And made her feel it twenty fortnights after:
Then thank their wit that make the place so sweet,
That for your Hymen you thought place so meet;
But meet not maids at madam Cloacina,
Lest they cry nine months alter, help Lucina.
Book III. EP. 29.
To his Friend of his Book
You muse to find in me such alteration,
That I that maidenly to write was wont,
Would now set to a book so desperate front,
As I might scant defend by incitation;
My muse that time did need a strong purgation,
Late having ta'en some bruise by lewd reports;
And when the physic wrought, you know the fashion
Whereto a man in such a case resorts:
And so my muse with good decorum spent,
On that base titled book, her excrement.