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Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex, an electronic edition

by Hannah Woolley [Woolley, Hannah, fl. 1670]

date: 1675
source publisher: Printed by A. Maxwell for Edward Thomas
collection: Early Modern through the 18th Century

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A merry Dialogue between on ingenious Gentlewoman and a Poetaster or Rimer.

Poet. Madam, I'm come to tell you I have writ; Your praise & glory wrapt up in my wit. Then pray accept and grace it with a smile, Your humble servant I my self shall stile.
Gent. After she had read his Verses, thus she speaks; Now prithee tell me, are these lines of your own composition?
Poet. They are indeed, Madam.
Gent. Now beshrew me if I did not think so; the conceits are as poor as thy habit, and the whole matter like thy self, hunger-starved; prithee leave off | | 253 riming, and beg some other way, in the ancient manner of such who haunt Morefields on Sundays; if thou hadst but a fore leg or arm, with a Partner, the structure of whole body is built on timber, (in plain English) a wooden-leg; thou thous wouldst thrive on't.
Poet. Accept pray Madam, what I here have writ: Pay first your Poet, and then shew your wit.
Gent. Then I see you are a Mercenary Scribler: Come tell me truly, how many have you presented with this Encomium with no other alteration than the name; I dare lay my life an hundred; your Verses are great Travellers; and yet I date engage my life they have never been as far as Parnassus; but there is not a Gentlemans house in the whole Kingdom in which they have not been convenrsant, and yet I wonder how they came to have such universal entertainment: as for my own part, I must confess plainly they are too lousie and beggarly to lodg underneath my roof; they will insect my Foot-men.
Poet. If these do not like you, Lady, fair and bright, Here's more I do present unto your sight.
Gent. Did you make them your self?
Poet. Did I not? What a quesion is that? How do you think I should come by them, unless I bought them? Some I know can buy Verses cheaper than they can make them; but I am no Sales-man in one respect though in another I may be said to be so; Sales-men use to have Clothes in their shop which Taylors make, and yet they own the work.
Gent. I marry, Sir, these savour of raptures and Poetical fancies!

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Poet. Do you smell them, Mada? I hope they do not offend your Ladiships nose.
Gent. Bur hold Sir, how comes this about? Here is one Verse is running a race with another, and hath the start of him, three feet at least?
Poet. I did it on purpose to see which would run fastest, or in imitation of a Hare, who is swister of foot than a Dog, and therefore is commonly before-hand with him.
Gent. I, but Sir, here his another hath ran too much, hath prickt his foot, and halts down right.
Poet. Why, look you, there lyes the conceit my invention is rare by way of imitation; lame halting Verses are commendable, or Magnum Jovis incrementum had never been writ; here lyeth the greatest art, and herein I express no small courage, making my enemies come home short by a leg; and to tell you truly, I am a sow'r Satyrist (alias) an Jambograher.
Gent. In the name of goodness, what was that you mambled! I hope you are no Conjurer; there's word with all my heart!
Poet. Why, this it is to be ignorant; or as we Latins say, Ars nullum babet inimicum nist ignorantem; it is my pride and glory that I speak beyond the reach of Phlegmatick feminine capacity; but I will condescend so low as to explain this significant word of my own composition, Jambographer; in the first place, know it is partly Greck, and partly I know not what, but the signification in short, is a keen and sharp Versifier, whose lines prick worse than Spanish Needles or in short, you may hang your self in a part of them.

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Gent. I thank you, Sir, for your good advice, but if you and your lines are such dangerous company, pray let me have no more of their society; and so farewell.
Poet. Nay, one word more; I cannot only hang with Jambicks, but I can fetch blood with Asclepiads; cudgel and bastinado with Sapphicks, and whip to death with Phaleucruhis.
Gent. Pray practice, Sir, first on your self, 'tis no matter which of them you take to free the world of such an insufferable burthen. Adieu.