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William Strode Poems
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On A Dissembler by William Strode
Could any shewe where Plynyes people dwell
Whose head stands in their breast; who cannot tell
A smoothing lye because their open hart
And lippes are joyn'd so neare, I would depart
As quick as thought, and there forgett the wrongs
Which I have suffer'd by deceitfull tongues.
I should depart where soules departed bee,
Who being freed from cloudy flesh, can see
Each other so immediately, so cleare
That none needs tongue to speak, nor ears to hear.
Were tongues intended to express the soule,
And can wee better doe't with none at all?
Were words first made our meaning to reveale,
And are they usde our meaning to conceale?
The ayre by which wee see, will that turne fogg?
Our breath turne mist? Will that become a clogg
That should unload the mynde? Fall we upon
Another Babell's sub-confusion?
And in the self-same language must wee finde
A diverse faction of the words and minde?
Dull as I am, that hugg'd such emptie ayre,
And never mark't the deede (a phrase more faire,
More trusty and univocall): joyne well
Three or foure actions, we may quickly spell
A hollow hart: if those no light can lend
Read the whole sentence, and observe the end:
I will not wayte so long: the guilded man
On whom I ground my speech, no longer can
Delude my sense; nor can the gracefull arte
Of kind dissembling button upp his hart.
His well-spoke wrongs are such as hurtfull words
Writt in a comely hand; or bloody swords
Sheath'd upp in velvett; if hee draw on mee
My armour proofe is incredulity.
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