Satiromastix – Dramatis Personæ

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TUCCA’s Boy.


Servants, Attendants.


To the World.

World, I was once resolv’d to be round with thee, because I know ‘tis thy fashion to be round with every body:  but the wind shifting his point, the vein turn’d:  yet because thou wilt sit as judge of all matters, though for thy labour thou wearst Midas’s ears, and art monstrum horrendum, inform:  Ingens cui lumen ademptum; whose great Poliphemiam eye is put out, I care not much if I make description, before thy universality, of that terrible Poetomachia, lately commenc’d between Horace the second, and a band of lean-witted poetasters.  They have been at high words, and so high, that the ground could not serve them, but, for want of chopins, have stalk’d upon stages.

Horace hal’d his poetasters to the bar, the poetasters untruss’d Horace: how worthily either, or how wrongfully, World, leave it to the jury:  Horace, questionless, made himself believe, that his Burgonian wit might desperately challenge all comers, and that none durst take up the foils against him:  it’s likely, if he had not so believ’d, he had not been so deceiv’d, for he was answer’d at his own weapon:  and if before Apollo himself, who is coronator poetarum, an inquisition should be taken touching this lamentable merry murdering of innocent poetry:  all mount Helicon to Bun-hill, it would be found on the poetaster’s side se defendendo.  Notwithstanding the doctors think otherwise.  I meet one, and he runs full butt at me with his satyr’s horns, for that in untrussing Horace, I did only whip his fortunes, and condition of life, where the more noble reprehension had been of his mind’s deformity, whose greatness if his critical lynx had with as narrow eyes, observ’d in himself, as it did little spots upon others; without all disputation, Horace would not have left Horace out of Every Man in’s Humour.  His fortunes?  Why does not he tax that only in others?  Read his arraignment and see.  A second cat-a-mountain mews, and calls me barren, because my brains could bring forth no other stigmatic than Tucca, whom Horace had put to making, and begot to my hand: but I wonder what language Tucca would have spoke, if honest Captain Hannam had been born without a tongue?  Is’t not as lawful for me to imitate Horace, as Horace Hannam?  Besides, if I had made an opposition of any other new-minted fellow, of what test so ever, he had been out-fac’d, and out-weighed by a settledapprobation: neither was it much improper to set the same dog upon Horace, whom Horace had set to worry others.

 I could have, even with the feather of my pen, wipe off other ridiculous imputations, but my best way to answer them, is to laugh at them; only thus much I protest, and swear by the divinest part of true poesy, that, howsoever the limbs of my naked lines may be and I know have been, tortur’d on the rack, they are free from conspiring the least disgrace to any man, but only to our new Horace; neither should this ghost of Tucca, have walk’d up and down Paul’s church-yard, but that he was rais’d up, in print, by new exorcisms.  World, if thy hugeness will believe this, do:  if not, I care not; for I dedicate my book not to thy greatness, but to the greatness of thy scorn:  defying which, let that mad dog Detraction bite till his teeth be worn to the stumps:  Envy feed thy snakes so fat with poison till they burst:  World, let all thy adders shoot out their hydra-headed-forked stings, ha, ha, nauci; if none will take my part, as I desire none, yet I thank thee, thou true Venusian Horaace, for these good words thou gui’st me:  Populus me sibylat at mihi plaudo.  World, farewell.

Malim Convivus quàm placuisse Cocis.

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