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To the mighty, learned, and ancient Poten-tate, QUISQUIS, Emperor of , King of Great and Little A., Prince of B. C. and D., &c.; ALIQUIS wisheth the much increase of true subjects, free from Passion, spleen, and melancholy; and endued with virtue, wisdom, and mag.
Or to the Reader.
IN EPISTLE to the Reader! Why! that must have
his Forehead or first entrance like a Courtier, fairspoken and full of expectation ; his Middle or centre like your citizen's warehouse, beautified with enticing
vanities, though the true riches consist of bald commodities; his Rendezvous or conclusion like the lawyer's case, able to pocket up any matter; but let good words be your best evidence ! In the General or foundation, he must be like Paul's Church, resolved to let every Knight and Gull travel upon him: yet his Particulars or lineaments may be Royal as the Exchange, with ascending steps, promising new but costly devices and fashions. It must have Teeth like a Satyr, Eyes like a critic; and yet may your Tongue speak false Latin, like your panders and bawds of poetry. Your Genius and Species should march in battle array with our politicians : yet your Genius ought to live with an honest soul indeed.
It should be like the never-too-well-read Arcadia, where the Prose and Verse, Matter and Words, are like his (SIDNEY's) Mistress's eyes ! one still excelling another, and without corrival ! or to come home to the vulgar's element, like friendly SHAKE-SPEARE's Tragedies, where the Comedian rides, when the Tragedian stands on tiptoe. Faith, it should please all, like Prince Hamlet! But, in sadness, then it were to be feared, he would run mad. In sooth, I will not be moonsick, to please ! nor out of my wits, though I displease all ! What ? Poet! are you in Passion, or out of Love ? This is as strange as true !
REA DE R.
Well, well ! if I seem mystical or tyrannical; whether I be a fool or a Lord's-Ingle ; all's one! If you be angry, you are not well advised! I will tell you, it is an Indian humour I have snuffed up from Divine Tobacco ! and it is most gentlemanlike, to puff it out at any place or person !
I'll no Epistle! It were worse than one of HERCULES' labours ! but will conclude honesty is a man's best virtue. And but for the Lord Mayor and the two Sheriffs, the Inns of Court, and many Gallants elsewhere, this last year might have been burned ! As for Momus (carp and bark who will !), if the noble Ass bray not, I am as good a Knight Poet, as Ætatis suæ, Master An. Dom.'s son-in-law.
Let your critic look to the rowels of his spurs, the pad of his saddle, and the jerk of his wand! then let him ride me and my rhynies down, as hotly as he would. I care not! We shall meet and be friends again, with the breaking of a spear or two! and who would do less, for a fair Lady ?
There I leave you, where you shall ever find me !
Passionate DAIPHANTUS, your loving subject, Gives you to understand, he is a Man in Print, and it is enough he hath undergone a Pressing, though for your sakes and for Ladies : protesting for this poor infant of his brain, as it was the price of his virginity, born into the world with tears : so (but for a many his dear friends that took much pains for it) it had died, and never been laughed at ! and that if Truth have wrote less than Fiction ; yet it is better to err in Knowledge than in Judgement ! Also, if he have caught up half a line of any other's, it was out of his memory, not of any ignorance !
Why he dedicates it to All, and not to any Particular, as his Mistress or so? His answer is, He is better born, than to creep into women's favours, and ask their leave afterwards.
Also he desireth you to help to correct such errors of the Printer, which (because the Author is dead, or was out of the City) hath been coininitted. And it was his folly, or the Stationer's, you had not an Epistle to the purpose.
Thus like a lover, wooes he for your favour ;
AIPHANTUS, a younger brother, very honourably
descended, brought up but not born in Venice ; naturally subject to Courting, but not to Love;
reputed a man rather full of compliment, than of true courtesy; more desirous to be thought honest, than so to be wordish beyond discretion; promising more to all, than friendship could challenge; mutable in all his actions, but his affections aiming indeed to gain opinion rather than goodwill; challenging love from greatness, not from merit; studious to abuse his own wit, by the common sale of his infirmities; lastly, under the colour of his natural affection (which indeed was very pleasant and delightful) coveted to disgrace every other to his own discontent: a scourge to Beauty, a traitor to Women, and an infidel to Love.
This He, this creature, at length, falls in love with two at one instant ; yea, two of his nearest allies : and so indifferently [equally) yet outrageously, as what was commendable in the one, was admirable in the other. By which means, as not despised, not regarded ! if not deceived, not pitied! They esteemed him as he was in deed, not words. He protested, they jested! He swore he loved in sadness; they in sooth believed, but seemed to give no credence to him : thinking 384
a. Sc. 1604.
him so humorous as no resolution could be long good; and holding this his attestation to them of affection in that kind, [no] more than his contesting against it before time.
Thus overcome of that he seemed to conquer, he became a slave to his own fortunes. Laden (ed) with much misery, utter mischief seized upon him. He fell in love with another, a wedded Lady. Then with a fourth, named VITULLIA. And so far was he imparadised in her beauty (She not recomforting him) that he fell from Love to Passion, so to Distraction, then to Admiration (wonderment] and Contemplation, lastly to Madness. Thus did he act the Tragical scenes, who only penned the Comical : became, if not as brutish as ActÆon, as furious as ORLANDO. Of whose Humours and Passions, I had rather you should read them, than I act them !
In the end, by one, or rather by all, he was recovered. A Voice did mad him; and a Song did recure him! Four in one sent him out of this world ; and one with four redeemed him to the world. To whose unusual strains in Music, and emphatical emphasis in Love; I will leave you to turn over a new leaf !
This only I will end with :
Sing the old World in an infant story!
I sing the Court's, City's, and the Country's fashions ! Yet sing I but of Love and her strange Passions !
I sing that anthem lovers sigh in sadness !
I sing a Dirge! a Fury did indite it!
ENG. GAR. VII.