Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
Lines from “The Curtain-drawer of the World”
XXXVII. W. Parkes
WOULD 1 I disclose the secrets I have seene
In closets, chambers, bosomes, I haue bene,
And here set downe what erst I haue neglected,
How minds of men and women are affected;
Then should I write of some so strangely base,        5
Beares diuil’s breast, that weares an angel’s face;
The subtill hammer of whose forge within,
That workes black mischief, shewes not out sinne.
Here’s Vulcan vowing in his grymy breast
His wines and honour shall inrich his chest.        10
Of some whose meditation is their care,
To father on long daies deceittful ware.
Heere dwels a merchant that hath store of wealth,
A faire young wife, that wants as he wants health:
Within whose breast I see contriu’d and plotted        15
That which for fatall husband is alotted:
Which though enacted twenty times a day,
The tongue conceales, the face doth not betray.
Within some breasts and bosomes I haue gone
Conscience I find more harder than a stone;        20
In other some, whose number is not small,
A little remnant: in some none at all.
Heere’s one whose conscience beareth Iudas’ curse,
That vowes damnation, but hee’ll fill the purse.
A wayting mistresse that is poore and proud        25
Will do what virtue neuer yet alow’d;
For silken trappings and for golden pay
Turnes whoore to-morrow, is resolu’d to-day.
An antient thefe of twenty yeares and more,
Hath vow’d from day to day to steale no more:        30
Yet now to make his broken summe vp iust
Will uenture once more, and be hang’d, I trust.
  Should I go forward through a world of mind,
  Kiss euery breast and bosome ill inclin’d,
  And shew the purpose therein was intended,        35
  My booke would still draw leaues, not heere be ended.
Note 1. XXXVII. W. Parkes wrote “The Curtain-drawer of the World: or the Chamberlaine of that great scene of iniquity. Where Vice in a rich embroidered gown of velvet rides a horse-back like a judge; and Virtue in a thrid bare cloak full of patches goes a foote like a drudge. Where he that hath most mony may be most merry, and he that hath none at all wants a friend he shall daily have cause to remember to grieue for.” This rare work, which is partly prose and partly poetry, was published in 4to, 1612. [back]

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