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By Sir John Davies

Etching of Sir Anthony Cooke, after his monument

[Dedicatory Sonnet]       


HERE my Chameleon Muse herself doth change
to diverse shapes of gross absurdities,
And like an Antic1 mocks with fashion strange
The fond2 admirers of lewd gulleries.
Your judgement sees with pity, and with scorn
The bastard Sonnets of the Rhymers base,
Which in this whisking age are daily born
To their own shames, and Poetry's disgrace.
Yet some praise those and some perhaps will praise
Even these of mine : and therefore these I send
To you that pass in Court your glorious days ;
Yet if some rich rash gull these Rhymes commend
Thus you may set this formal wit to school,
Use your own grace, and beg him for a fool.

J. D.

1 = motley-dressed jester or fool. (Grosart).
2 = foolish. (Grosart).
Gulleries, trickeries, frauds.
Whisking, a) fast-moving; b) great.
Gull, fool, dupe.
Set. . .school, set him straight.
Beg. . .fool, show him for a fool.

Note on the text:
Transcribed, modernized, and annotated by Anniina Jokinen from

Davies, Sir John. The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies. Vol II.
Rev. Alexander B, Grosart, Ed.
London: Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly, 1876. 55.

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Created by Anniina Jokinen on November 20, 1999. Last updated May 14, 2023.


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