To all and singular in this full meeting,
Ladies and gallants, Phoebus sends ye greeting.
To all his sons, by whate'er title known,
Whether of court, or coffee-house, or town;
From his most mighty sons, whose confidence
Is placed in lofty sound, and humble sense,
Even to his little infants of the time,
Who write new songs, and trust in tune and rhyme
Be 't known, that Phoebus (being daily grieved
To see good plays condemn'd, and bad received)
Ordains your judgment upon every cause,
Henceforth, be limited by wholesome laws.
He first thinks fit no sonnetteer advance
His censure farther than the song or dance,
Your wit burlesque may one step higher climb,
And in his sphere may judge all doggrel rhyme;
All proves, and moves, and loves, and honours too;
All that appears high sense, and scarce is low.
As for the coffee wits, he says not much;
Their proper business is to damn the Dutch:
For the great dons of wit--
Phoebus gives them full privilege alone,
To damn all others, and cry up their own.
Last, for the ladies, 'tis Apollo's will,
They should have power to save, but not to kill:
For love and he long since have thought it fit,
Wit live by beauty, beauty reign by wit.