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To My Noble Friend Mr. William Brown, of the Evil Time
by [?]

Deare friend, be silent and with patience see,
What this mad times Catastrophe will be;
The worlds first Wisemen certainly mistook
Themselves, and spoke things quite beside the book,
And that which they have of said of God, untrue,
Or else expect strange judgement to ensue.
This Isle is a mere Bedlam, and therein,
We all lie raving, mad in every sinn,
And him the wisest most men use to call,
Who doth (alone) the maddest thing of all;
He whom the master of all wisdom found,
For a marked fool, and so did him propound,
The time we live in, to that pass is brought,
That only he a Censor now is thought;
And that base villain, (not an age yet gone,)
Which a good man would not have look’d upon;
Now like a God, with divine worship follow’d,
And all his actions are accounted hollow’d.
This world of ours, thus runneth upon wheels,
Set on the head, bolt upright with her heels;
Which makes me think of what the Ethnics told
Th’ opinion, the Pythagorists uphold,
That the immortal soul doth transmigrate;
Then I suppose by the strong power of fate,
And since that time now many a lingering year,
Through fools, and beasts, and lunatics have past,
Are here imbodied in this age at last,
And though so long we from that time be gone,
Yet taste we still of that confusion.
For certainly there’s scarce one found that now,
Knows what t’approve, or what to disallow,
All arsey varsey, nothing is it’s own,
But to our proverb, all turnd upside down;
To do in time, is to do out of season,
And that speeds best, thats done the farth’st from reason,
He’s high’st that’s low’st, he’s surest in that’s out,
He hits the next way that goes farth’st about,
He getteth up unlike to rise at all,
He slips to ground as much unlike to fall;
Which doth inforce me partly to prefer,
The opinion of that mad Philosopher,
Who taught, that those all-framing powers above,
(As ’tis suppos’d) made man not out of love
To him at all, but only as a thing,
To make them sport with, which they use to bring
As men do monkeys, puppets, and such tools
Of laughter: so men are but the Gods fools.
Such are by titles lifted to the sky,
As wherefore no man knows, God scarcely why;
The virtuous man depressed like a stone,
For that dull Sot to raise himselfe upon;
He who ne’re thing yet worthy man durst doe,
Never durst look upon his country’s foe,
Nor durst attempt that action which might get
Him fame with men: or higher might him set
Then the base begger (rightly if compar’d;)
This Drone yet never brave attempt that dar’d,
Yet dares be knighted, and from thence dares grow
To any title Empire can bestow;
For this believe, that Impudence is now
A Cardinall virtue, and men it allow
Reverence, nay more, men study and invent
New ways, nay, glory to be impudent.
Into the clouds the Devil lately got,
And by the moisture doubting much the rot,
A medicine took to make him purge and cast;
Which in short time began to work so fast,
That he fell too ‘t, and from his backeside flew,
A rout of rascal a rude ribald crew
Of base Plebeians, which no sooner light,
Uon the earth, but with a sudden flight,
They spread this Isle, and as Deucalion once
Ouer his shoulder backe, by throwing stones
They became men, euen so these beasts became,
Owners of titles from an obscure name.
He that by riot, of a mighty rent,
Hath his late goodly Patrimony spent,
And into base and wilful beggery run
This man as he some glorious act had done,
With some great pension, or rich guift reliev’d,
When he that hath by industry atchiev’d
Some noble thing, contemned and disgrac’d,
In the forlorn hope of the times is plac’d,
As though that God had carelessly left all
That being hath on this terrestrial ball,
To fortunes guiding, nor would have to do
With man, nor aught that doth belong him to,
Or at the least God having given more
Power to the Devil, then he did of yore,
Over this world: the feind as he doth hate
The virtuous man; maligning his estate,
All noble things, and would haue by his will,
To be damn’d with him, using all his skill,
By his black hellish ministers to vexe
All worthy men, and strangely to perplex
Their constancy, there by them so to fright,
That they should yield them wholely to his might.
But of these things I vainly do but tell,
Where hell is heaven, and heav’n is now turn’d hell;
Where that which lately blasphemy hath bin,
Now godliness, much less accounted sin;
And a long while I greatly marvel’d why
Buffoons and Bawds should hourely multiply,
Till that of late I construed it that they
To present thrift had got the perfect way,
When I concluded by their odious crimes,
It was for us no thriving in these times.
As men oft laugh at little Babes, when they
Hap to behold some strange thing in their play,
To see them on the sudden strucken sad,
As in their fancy some strange forms they had,
Which they by pointing with their fingers show,
Angry at our capacities so slow,
That by their countenance we no sooner learn
To see the wonder which they so discern:
So the celestial powers do sit and smile
At innocent and vertuous men the while,
They stand amazed at the world ore-gone,
So far beyond imagination,
With slavish baseness, that the silent sit
Pointing like children in describing it.
Then noble friend the next way to control
These worldly crosses, is to arm thy soul
With constant patience: and with thoughts as high
As these be low, and poor, winged to fly
To that exalted stand, whether yet they
Are got with pain, that sit out of the way
Of this ignoble age, which raiseth none
But such as think their black damnation
To be a trifle; such, so ill, that when
They are advanc’d, those few poor honest men
That yet are living, into search do run
To find what mischief they have lately done,
Which so prefers them; say thou he doth rise,
That maketh virtue his chief exercise.
And in this base world come what euer shall,
He’s worth lamenting, that for her doth fall.