The Scourge of Villainy
By John Marston

Excerpt from "Satire X. Humors."        

Sleep, grim reproof, my jocund muse doth sing
In other keys, to nimbler fingering.
Dull-spirited Melancholy, leave my brain!
To hell, Cimmerian night! in lively vein
I strive to paint; then hence, all dark intent
And sullen frowns! Come, sporting merriment,
Cheek-dimpling laughter, crown my very soul
With jouissance, whilst mirthful jests control
The gouty humors of these pride-swollen days,
Which I do long until my pen displays.
Oh, I am great with mirth; some midwifery,
Or I shall break my sides at vanity!
    Room for a capering mouth, whose lips ne'er stir
But in discoursing of the graceful slur;
Who ever heard spruce skipping Curio
E'er prate of aught but of the whirl on toe,
The turn above ground, Robrus' sprawling kicks,
Fabius' caper, Harry's tossing tricks?
Did ever any ear e'er hear him speak
Unless his tongue of cross-points did entreat?
His teeth do caper whilst he eats his meat,
His heels do caper whilst he takes his seat,
His very soul, his intellectual,
Is nothing but a mincing capreal.
He dreams of toe-turns, each gallant he doth meet
He fronts him with a traverse in the street;
Praise but Orchestra and the skipping art,
You shall command him; faith, you have his heart
Even cap'ring in your fist. A hall, a hall,
Room for the spheres, the orbs celestial
Will dance Kemp's jig. They'll revel with neat jumps;
A worthy poet hath put on their pumps....

Poetry of the English Renaissance 1509-1660.
J. William Hebel and Hoyt H. Hudson, eds.
New York: F.S. Crofts & Co., 1941. 367.


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