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And by some learned Clerkes it bath been said
Should me devoure, a Scorpion's form shee'l take
Which to prevent, I keepo my selfe awake.
My wife, her sister, and my owne deare childe
I haue quite ouertbrone, oh monster vild !
A figure of that knife (it seemes to be)
Wherewith he did cut out the tongue of me.
Shall finde so correspondent to my words,
The reason why the Poet sayos, wee three
The morall of the story is the chiefe,
As for the changing formes, 'tis past beliefe.
That you all shun the vices mention'd in't,
Then I'le rejoyce because my song's in print. It will be seen by the reader from these extracts, that the work is not remarkable for any display of imagination or poetical fancy, nor possessed
VOL, V. PART I.
of any extraordinary or striking merit, but exhibits merely the common run of mediocrity. Of Martin Parker the author, who contributed much to the songs and merriments of former times, and who is more remembered for his ballad-making propensities than for his poetical powers, what little is known of him, has been carefully gleaned by Mr. Park, and inserted in the Cens. Liter., vol. iii, p. 26, to which the reader is referred. See also Ritson's Ancient English Songs, 1790 edition, p. 239, and the Bibl. Ang. Poet., p. 536, where this unique volume is priced at 15l. 158. It was reprinted in 1832, when a limited number of copies were taken off from it for private circulation at the expense of the late Amos Strettell, Esq., in whose possession it then was.
Half bound in Russia.
PARKER, (MARTINE).- The Poets Blind mans bough, or Have
among you my blind Harpers; Being a pretty medicine to cure the Dimme, Double, Envious, Partiall, and Diabolicall eyesight and judgement of those Dogmaticall, Schismaticall, Aenigmaticall and non Gramaticall Authors who Lycentiously, without eyther Name, Lycence, Wit, or Charity, have raylinly, falsely, and foolishly written a numerous rable of pesteferous Pamphletes in this present (and the precedent) yeare, justly observed and charitably censured, By Martine Parker.
Printed at London by F. Leach, for Henry Marsh, and are to bee sold at his shop over against the Golden Lyon Taverne in Princes street. 1641. 4to, pp. 16.
This small poetical tract by Parker in vindication of himself from the anonymous attacks of various “paper-persecutors," is preceded by a metrical dedication of three stanzas, addressed “To the truly ivdicious, impartiall, charitable, and impreivdicated Christian Reader of what quality, age or sex soever, the Authour dedicates his poore endevors and refers himselfe with the same," hoping that
good men will contented be, With what is Publish'd by (abus’d) M. P. Who neuer wrot but in the Iust defence Of 's King and Countrey; now's owne innocence.
The poem occupies six leaves, and is intended to vindicate himself from numerous libellous scribblers, of which he says:
Should I but give them their deserved due
Eagles sleight notice take when crowes doe creake.
More danger comes with quill then by the sword, he declares against the anonymous system, and says, that where an attack is made upon another, the author's “ name should justifie what he hath done.”
For what is either more or less set forth 'Gainst
persons in particular ; what worth Or fame among the vulgar it may win Without the Author's name, 't hath ever bin Held as a Lybell both in Law and sence : Then he who writes (what e're be bis pretence) His name should iustifie what he hath done : This maxim I have alwaies thought upon What ever yet was published by mee, Was knowne by Martine Parker, or M. P. All Poets (as adition to their fames) Have by their Works eternized their names, As Chaucer, Spencer, and that noble carle Of Surrie, thought it the most precious pearle That dick'd his honour, to subscribe to what His high engenue euer amed at: Sydney, and Shakspere, Drayton, Withers, and Renowned Jonson glory of our Land : Deker, Learn'd Chapman, Haywood al thought good To haue their names in publike understood, And that sweet Seraph of our Nation Quarles (In spight of each phanatick cur that snarles) Subscribes to bis Celestiall harmony While Angels chant his dulcid melodie.
And honest Iohn from the water to the land
Much of the remainder of the poem relates to the libels upon Archbishop Laud, and the scurrilous and infamous anonymous attacks upon that learned prelate, then a prisoner in the tower, and mention is made of a strange plot, which Parker ridicules as a lie, for giving him his release therefrom.
But (as friends) I friendly them advise
Among other libels on the same prelate allusion is also made to one called “Mercuries Message":
Nor whiles I'm speaking of th’ Archbishop's case
The poetical tract here alluded to is entitled “ Mercuries Message, or the Coppy of a Letter sent to William Laud late Archbishop of Canterbury, now prisoner in the Tower." It has a woodcut portrait of Archbishop Laud on the title, and was “Printed in the yeare of our Prelates feare, 1641," 4to. Of its extreme rarity there cannot be a stronger proof than that at Dr. Farmer's sale, No. 7195, it produced the sum of four guineas. It consists of four leaves only; and on the reverse of the title has the “ Cronagram” alluded to above. The author passes
.... from this
And they will finde the Authour out a Scot. One man is said to have been “ the author of both plots," whose name is given in the margin as John Thomas. Mention is afterwards made of another satirical tract, called “Vox Borealis, or The Northern Discoverie: by way of Dialogue between Jamie and Willie,” 1641, 4to :
Nor Borealist by some brother pen
As now I have on this occasion touch. The words “father'd on a sect” may perhaps allude to this tract being printed by Margery Mar-Prelate, and classed with those slanderous publications. In the Vox Borealis, Parker “ the Prelat’s Poet,” is thus vituperatively mentioned : “One Parker, the Prelat's Poet, who made many base ballads against the Scots, sped but little better, for he, and his antipodes were like to have tasted of Justice Long’s liberalitie : and hardly he escaped his powdering-tubb, which the vulgar people calls a prison. But now he sweares he will never put pen to paper for the Prelats again, but betake himselfe to his pitcht Kanne, and Tobacco and Pipe ; and learne to sell his frothie Pots againe, and give over Poetrie."
Another foolish idle defamation