His Defence Against The Idle Critick

A poem by Michael Drayton

The Ryme nor marres, nor makes,
Nor addeth it, nor takes,
From that which we propose;
Things imaginarie
Doe so strangely varie,
That quickly we them lose.

And what 's quickly begot,
As soone againe is not,
This doe I truely know:
Yea, and what 's borne with paine,
That Sense doth long'st retaine,
Gone with a greater Flow.

Yet this Critick so sterne,
But whom, none must discerne,
Nor perfectly haue seeing,
Strangely layes about him,
As nothing without him
Were worthy of being.

That I my selfe betray
To that most publique way,
Where the Worlds old Bawd,
Custome, that doth humor,
And by idle rumor,
Her Dotages applaud.

That whilst he still prefers
Those that be wholly hers,
Madnesse and Ignorance,
I creepe behind the Time,
From spertling with their Crime,
And glad too with my Chance.

O wretched World the while,
When the euill most vile,
Beareth the fayrest face,
And inconstant lightnesse,
With a scornefull slightnesse,
The best Things doth disgrace.

Whilst this strange knowing Beast,
Man, of himselfe the least,
His Enuie declaring,
Makes Vertue to descend,
Her title to defend,
Against him, much preparing.

Yet these me not delude,
Nor from my place extrude,
By their resolued Hate;
Their vilenesse that doe know;
Which to my selfe I show,
To keepe aboue my Fate.

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