On Poet-Ape

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On Poet-Ape  (1612) 
by Ben Jonson
On Poet-Ape


Poor POET-APE, that would be thought our chief,
 Whose works are e'en the frippery of wit,
From brokage is become so bold a thief,
 As we, the robbed, leave rage, and pity it.
At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,
 Buy the reversion of old plays; now grown
To a little wealth, and credit in the scene,
 He takes up all, makes each man's wit his own.
And, told of this, he slights it. Tut, such crimes
 The sluggish gaping auditor devours;
He marks not whose 'twas first: and after-times
 May judge it to be his, as well as ours.
Fool, as if half eyes will not know a fleece
 From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece!

(Some spelling modernised.)

This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.