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By Sir John Davies

Gentleman woodcut, from the Roxburghe Ballads, c1628

OF A GULL.       

Oft in my laughing rhymes, I name a Gull:
But this new term will many questions breed;
Therefore at first I will express7 at full,
Who is a true and perfect Gull indeed:
A Gull is he who fears a velvet gown,
And, when a wench is brave,8 dares not speak to her;
A Gull is he which traverseth the town,
And is for marriage known a common wooer;
A Gull is he which while he proudly wears,
A silver-hilted rapier by his side;
Endures the lies and knocks about the ears,
Whilst in his sheath his sleeping sword doth bide:
A Gull is he which wears good handsome clothes,
And stands, in Presence, stroking up his hair,
And fills up his unperfect speech with oaths,
But speaks not one wise word throughout the year:
But to define a Gull in terms precise,—
A Gull is he which seems, and is not wise.

Gull, fool.
7 MS. "Wherefore. . . . disclose." (Dyce's note, in Grosart).
8 ' Fine, richly dressed.' (Dyce's note, in Grosart).
In Presence, i.e. at court, in presence of the Queen/King.

Text source:

Davies, Sir John. The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies. Vol II.
Rev. Alexander B. Grosart, Ed.
London: Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly, 1876.  8-9.

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