Ben Jonson

  E  P  I  G  R  A  M  S .


SHIFT, here in town, not meanest among squires,
That haunt Pickt-hatch, Marsh-Lambeth, and White-friars,
Keeps himself, with half a man, and defrays
The charge of that state, with this charm, god pays.
By that one spell he lives, eats, drinks, arrays
Himself :  his whole revenue is, god pays.
The quarter-day is come ; the hostess says,
She must have money : he returns, god pays.
The tailor brings a suit home : he it says,
Look's o'er the bill, likes it : and says, god pays.
He steals to ordinaries ; there he plays
At dice his borrow'd money : which, god pays.
Then takes up fresh commodities, for days ;
Signs to new bonds ; forfeits ; and cries, god pays.
That lost, he keeps his chamber, reads essays,
Takes physic, tears the papers : still god pays.
Or else by water goes, and so to plays ;
Calls for his stool, adorns the stage : god pays.
To every cause he meets, this voice he brays :
His only answer is to all, god pays.
Not his poor cockatrice but he betrays
Thus ; and for his lechery, scores, god pays.
But see !  the old bawd hath serv'd him in his trim,
Lent him a pocky whore.—She hath paid him.

[ AJ Notes:
   l.9    He it says, he it assays, i.e., tries it on.
   l.11  Steals to ordinaries, goes to taverns.
   l.16  Physic, medicine.
   l.23  In his trim, in his own fashion, i.e., she has given him
           a taste of his own medicine.
   l.24  Pocky, diseased. ]


Jonson, Ben.  The Works of Ben Jonson.
Boston: Phillips, Sampson, and Co., 1853. 786.

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