Oh that my lungs could bleat like buttered peas;
But bleating of my lungs hath caught the itch,
And are as mangy as the Irish seas
That offer wary windmills to the rich.
I grant that rainbows being lulled asleep,
Snort like a woodknife in a lady’s eyes;
Which makes her grieve to see a pudding creep,
For creeping puddings only please the wise.
Not that a hard-roed herring should presume
To swing a tithe-pig in a catskin purse;
For fear the hailstones which did fall at Rome,
By lessening of the fault should make it worse.
For ’tis most certain winter woolsacks grow
From geese to swans if men could keep them so,
Till that the sheep-shorn planets gave the hint
To pickle pancakes in Geneva print.
Some men there were that did suppose the skie
Was made of carbonadoed antidotes;
But my opinion is, a whale’s left eye,
Need not be coined all King Harry groats.
The reason’s plain, for Charon’s western barge
Running a tilt at the subjunctive mood,
Beckoned to Bednal Green, and gave him charge
To fasten padlocks with Antarctic food.
The end will be the millponds must be laded,
To fish for white pots in a country dance;
So they that suffered wrong and were upbraided
Shall be made friends in a left-handed trance.
– Anon., 1617, Quoted from John Ashton’s Humour, Wit, & Satire of the Seventeenth Century (1883)