The Scourge of Villainy
By John Marston


N serious jest, and jesting seriousnesse,
   I strive to scourge polluting beastlinesse;
   I invocate no Delian deitie,
   No sacred ofspring of Mnemosyne;
I pray in aid of no Castalian muse,
No nymph, no femal angell to infuse
A sprightly wit to raise my flagging wings,
And teach me tune these harsh discordant strings.
I crave no syrens of our halcion times,
To grace the accents of my rough-hew'd rimes;
But grim Reproofe, stearne hate of villany,
Inspire and guide a Satyres poesie.
Faire Detestation of foule odious sinne,
In which our swinish times lye wallowing,
Be thou my conduct and my genius,
My wits inciting sweet-breath'd Zephirus.
O that a Satyres hand had force to pluck
Some fludgate up, to purge the world from muck!
Would God I could turne Alpheus river in,
To purge this Augean oxstall from foule sinne!
     Well, I will try; awake, Impuritie,
     And view the vaile drawne from thy villany!

The Works of John Marston, Vol. III.
J. O. Halliwell [Halliwell-Phillips], ed.
London: John Russell Smith, 1856. 285.


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