No matter what you do or what you say,
Nothing can move me from my settled purpose;
The age we're living in is so depraved
That I must shun all intercourse with men.
What! Honour, justice, decency, the laws,
Are all combined against my adversary;
My rights are everywhere proclaimed; I rest
Assured upon the justice of my cause;
And yet I'm disappointed by the outcome;
With justice on my side, I lose my case!
A knave, whose story is a public scandal,
Comes off triumphant in his treachery,
And honest truth must yield to blackguardism!
He cuts my throat, and proves he's doing right!
That grinning face, in which his cant and cunning
Show clearly forth, has influence enough
To overthrow the right and ruin justice!
He gets decree of court to crown his crime!
Then, not contented with the wrong he's done me,
Finding a villainous book in circulation,
A book deserving of the utmost censure,
And which it is disgraceful even to read,
The scoundrel has the face to say I wrote it!
And thereupon Oronte begins to mutter,
And basely tries to spread the lie! … Oronte
Who has the standing of a gentleman
At court, and whom I never wronged, unless
By being frank and honest, when he came
With ardent eagerness, against my will,
To ask my judgment on some rhymes he'd written!
Because I treat him like an honest man
And won't betray the truth or him, he helps
To overwhelm me with a trumped-up crime!
Now he's become my greatest enemy,
And never will be brought to pardon me,
All just because I didn't praise his sonnet!
And men, good heavens, are made of stuff like this!
These are the deeds their pride can bring them to!
This is the honesty, the love of virtue,
The justice, and the honour, found among 'em!
I've borne the plague of 'em too long; I'll leave
This savage ambuscade and cut-throat hole;
And since among mankind you live like wolves,
You'll never see me more in all your days.