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And ring the Changes upon Cases,
As plain as Nofes upon Faces.
As you have well instructed me,
For which you've earn'd (here 'tis) your Fee?
I long to practise your Advice,
And try the subtle Artifice:
To Bait a Letter as you bid.
As not long after thus he did,
For having pump'd up all his Wit,
And hum'd upon it, thus he writ.

192

An Heroical Epistle of Hudibras

to his Lady:

I

Who was once as great as Cæsar,

Am now reduc'd to Nebuchadnezar: And from as fam'da Conqueror, As ever took degree in War, Or did his Exercise in Battel, By you turn'd out to Graze with Catile. For since I am deny'd Access To all my Earthly Happiness. Am fallen from the Paradise Of your good Graces, and fair Eyes, Lost to the World, and you, I'm sent To Everlasting Banishment. Where all the Hopes I had t have' won, Your Heart, being dash'd, will break my own, Yet if you were not so fevere To pass your doom, before you hear,

,

Who

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You'll find upon my just Defence;
How much y' have wrong d my Innocence:
That once I made a Vow to you,
Which yet is unperform’d, 'tis true;
But not, because it is unpaid,
'Tis Violated, though delay’d.
Or if it were, it is no Fault,
So heinous as you'd have it thought;
To undergo the Loss of Ears,
Like vülgai Hackney Perjurers;
For there's a Difference in the Cafe
Between the Noble and the Base;
Who always are observ’d t' have don't.
Upon as different account:
The one for great and weighty Cause,
To falve, in Honour, igly. flaws.
For nonė are like to do it sooner,
Than those who're nicest of their Honour,
The other for base Gain and Pay,
Forswear, and Perjure by the Day;
And make th’ Exposing and Retailing
Their Souls and Consciences, a Calling

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It is no Scandal, or Aspersion,
Upon a Great and Noble Person,
To say, he nat'rally abhorr'd
Tl' old fashion d Trick, to keep his Word;
Though 'tis Perfidiousness and Shame,
In meaner Men, to do the same.
For to be able to Forget,
Is found more useful, to the Great :
Than Gout, or Deafness, or bad Eyes,
To make 'em pass for wondrous Wise.
But though tlie Law, on Perjurers,
Inflicts the Forfeiture of Ears ;
It is not just, that does exempt
The Guilty, and punish thInnocent;
To make the Ears repair the Wrong,
Committed by th’ ungovern'd Tongue;
And when one Member is forsworn,
Acotlfer to be cropt or torn.
And if you should, as you design,
By Course of Law recover mine.
You're like, if you consider right,
To gain but little Honour by’t.

1

For

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For he that for his Lady's fake
Lays down his Life or Limbs at stake,
Does not so much deserve her Favour,
As he that pawns his Soul to have her.
This y' have acknowledg’d I have done;
Altho you now disdain to own;
But sentence, what you rather ought
T'esteem Good Service than a Fault.
“ Besides, Oaths are not bound to bear
“ That Literal Sense the Words infer;
“ But by the Practice of the Age,

Are to be judg’d how far th'engage.
“ And where the Sense by Custom's checkt;
56 Are found Void, and of None effect.
66 For no Man takes or keeps a Vow;
" But just as he fees others do.

Nor are th’ oblig'd to be só brittle; “ As not to yield and bow a little ;

For as beft temper'd Blades are found, “ Before they break to bend quite round, “ So truest Oaths are still most tough, 6 And, tho they bow, are Breaking proof.

Theri

N2

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