The CHEAT's APOLOGY.
'Tis my vocation, Hal! SHAKESPEAR.
1 LOOK round the wide world each profession, you'll find,
2 Hath something dishonest, which myst'ry they call;
3 Each knave points another, at home is stark blind,
4 Except but his own, there's a cheat in them all:
5 When tax'd with imposture the charge he'll evade,
6 And like Falstaff pretend he but lives by his trade.
7 The hero ambitious (like Philip's great son,
8 Who wept when he found no more mischief to do)
9 Ne'er scruples a neighbouring realm to o'er-run,
10 While slaughters and carnage his sabre imbrue.
11 Of rapine and murder the charge he'll evade,
12 For conquest is glorious, and fighting his trade.
13 The statesman, who steers by wise Machiavel's rules,
14 Is ne'er to be known by his tongue or his face;
15 They're traps by him us'd to catch credulous fools,
16 And breach of his promise he counts no disgrace;
17 But policy calls it, reproach to evade,
18 For flatt'ry's his province, cajoling his trade.
19 The priest will instruct you this world to despise,
20 With all its vain pomp, for a kingdom on high;
21 While earthly preferments are chiefly his prize,
22 And all his pursuits give his doctrine the lye;
23 He'll plead you the gospel, your charge to evade:
24 The lab'rer's entititled to live by his trade.
25 The lawyer, as oft on the wrong side as right,
26 Who tortures for fee the true sense of the laws,
27 While black he by sophistry proves to be white,
28 And falshood and perjury lists in his cause;
29 With steady assurance all crime will evade:
30 His client's his care, and he follows his trade.
31 The sons of Machaon, who thirsty for gold
32 The patient past cure visit thrice in a day,
33 Write largely the Pharmacop league to uphold,
34 While poverty's left to diseases a prey;
35 Are held in repute for their glitt'ring parade:
36 Their practice is great, and they shine in their trade.
37 Since then in all stations imposture is found,
38 No one of another can justly complain;
39 The coin he receives will pass current around,
40 And where he is cousen'd he cousens again:
41 But I, who for cheats this apology made,
42 Cheat myself by my rhyming, and starve by my trade.