Page images
PDF
EPUB

Yet plaintiffs and defendants much mistake
Their cure, and their diseases lasting make;
For to be reconciled, and to comply,
Would prove their cheap and shortest remedy:
The length and charge of law vex all that sue;
Laws punish many, reconcile but few.”

In “Gondibert” he says, –

“ Yet since on all war never needful was,

Wise Aribert did keep the people sure
By laws from little dangers ; for the laws

Then from themselves, and not from pow'r secure.

Else conquerors, by making laws, o'ercome

Their own gain’d pow'r, and leave men fury free;
Who growing deaf to pow'r, the laws grow dumb;

Since none can plead, where all may judges be.”

DONNE, in rugged and forcible verse, thus scolds at lawyers in his Second Satire :

“ The insolence
Of Coscus only breeds my just offense,
Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches pox,
And plodding on must make a calf an ox)
Hath made a lawyer; which (alas !) of late
But scarce a poet, jollier of this state
Than are new beneficial ministers, he throws
Like nets or lime-twigs, wheresoe'er he goes,
His title of barrister on every wench,
And woos in language of the pleas and bench.
A motion, Lady.' — “Speak, Coscus.' _' I have been
In love e'er since tricesimus of the queen.
Continued claims I've made, injunctions got,
To stay my rival's suit, that he should not

6

Proceed; spare me, in Hilary term I went;
You said if I returned next 'size in Lent,
I should be in remitter of your grace;
In the interim my letters should take place
Of affidavits.' Words, words, which would tear
The tender labyrinth of a maid's soft ear
More, more than ten Slavonians' scoldings, more
Than when winds in our ruined abbeys roar.
When sick with poetry, and possest with muse
Thou wast run mad I hoped; but men which choose
Law practice for mere gain, bold souls repute
Worse than imbrotheled strumpets prostitute.
Now, like an owl-like watchman, he must walk
His hand still at a bill; now he must talk
Idly, like prisoners, which whole months will swear
That only suretyship hath brought them there,
And to every suitor lie in every thing,
Like a king's favorite, or like a king:
Like a wedge in a block, wring to the bar,
Bearing like asses, and more shameless far
Than carted whores, lie to the grave judge, for
Bastardy abounds not in kings' titles, nor
Simony and Sodomy in churchman's lives,
As these things do in him; by these he thrives.
Shortly, as the sea, he'll compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover-strand,
And spying heirs, melting with luxury,
Satan will not joy at their sins, as he;
For (as a thrifty wench scrapes kitchen stuff
And barrelling the droppings, and the snuff
Of wasting candles, which in thirty year,
Relicly kept, perchance buys wedding cheer)
Piece-meal he gets lands, and spends as much time
Wringing each acre, as maids pulling prime.
In parchment; then, large as the fields, he draws
Assurances, big as glossed civil laws,

So huge, that men (in our time's forwardness)
Are fathers of the church for writing less.
These he writes not, nor for these written pays,
Therefore spares no length (as in those first days,
When Luther was profest, he did desire
Short paternosters, saying as a friar
Each day his beads, but having left those laws,
Adds to Christ's prayer the power and glory clause).
But when he sells or changes land, he impairs
His writings, and (unwatched) leaves out ses heires,
And slyly as any commenter goes by
Hard words or sense; or in divinity
As controverters in vouched texts leave out
Shrewd words which might against them clear the doubt.”

BISHOP HALL,

in the Third Satire of the second book, animadverts on
the law and lawyers :
“Who doubts ? the laws fell down from heav'n's height,

Like to some gliding star in winter's night?
Themis, the scribe of God, did long agone
Engrave them deep in during marble stone,
And cast them down on this unruly clay,
That men might know to rule and to obey.
But now their characters depraved bin,
By them that would make gain of others' sin.
And now hath wrong so mastered the right,
That they live best that on wrong's offal light.
So loathly fly, that lives on galled wound,
And scabby festers inwardly unsound,
Feeds fatter with that poisonous carrion,
Than they that haunt the healthy limbs alone.
Woe to the weal where many lawyers be,
For there is sure much store of malady.

1

'Twas truly said, and truly was foreseen,
The fat kine are devoured of the lean.
Genus and Species long since barefoot went
Upon their ten toes in wild wonderment;?
Whiles father Bartoll 2 on his footcloth rode,
Upon high pavement gaily silver strow'd.
Each homebred science percheth in the chair
While sacred arts grovel on the groundsel bare.
Since peddling Barbarisms 'gan be in request,
Nor classic tongues, nor learning found no rest,
The crouching client, with low bended knee,
And many worships, and fair flattery,
Tells on his tale as smoothly as him list,
But still the lawyer's eye squints on his fist;
If that seem lined with a larger fee,
Doubt not the suit, the law is plain for thee.
Tho' must he buy his vainer hope with price,
Dishclout his crowns, and thank him for advice.
So have I seen in a tempestuous stowre,
Some briar-bush showing shelter from the show'r,
Unto the hopeful sheep that fain would hide
His fleecy coat from that same angry tide:
The ruthless briar, re less of his plight,
Lays hold upon the fleece he should acquite,
And takes advantage of the careless prey,
That thought she in securer shelter lay.
The day is fair, the sheep would far to feed;
The tyrant briar holds fast his shelter's need,
And claims it for the fee of his defence:
So robs the sheep, in favour's fair pretence.”

I.e., the professor of logic is obliged to go a-foot. 2 Bartolus, a civil lawyer of the fourteenth century.

BOILEAU, educated to the law, excuses his desertion to literature, in his First Satire : “Shall I hereafter act another part, Phæbus abandon for Bartholu's art? Turn o'er the Institutes, thumb Littleton, And draggling at my tail a dirty gown, Pick up for every cause a double crown? But at the very thought I start, and find The Bar and I shall ne'er be of a mind. Can I in such a barbarous country bawl, And rend with venal lungs the guilty hall ; Where innocence does daily pay the cost, And in the labyrinth of law is lost; Where wrong by tricks and quirks prevails o'er right, And black is by due form of law made white; Garvin outnoised by Graham yields the prize, And Ciceros are formed o'er mutton pies? E’er I a thought like this can entertain, Frost shall at midsummer congeal the Seine; His Holiness shall turn a Protestant, Beecher wear lawn, and Tyng the elder cant.”

The translation which I quote has dashes in place of the proper names, and I have ventured to supply the names which I think the poet must have intended.

In the Eighth Satire the following occurs : —
“No eagle does upon his peerage sue,
And strive some meaner eagle to undo;
No fox was e'er suborned by spite or pay,
To swear his brother fox's life away;
Nor any hind, for impotence at rut,
Did e'er the stag into the Arches put,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »