Pastoral Poems (Breton); Selected Poetry (Wither); Pastoral Poetry (Browne)/From a Satire written to King James I

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From a Satire written to King James I

Did I not know a great man's power and might
In spite of innocence can smother right,
Colour his villainies to get esteem,
And make the honest man the villain seem?
I know it, and the world doth know 'tis true.
Yet I protest if such a man I knew,
That might my country prejudice or thee
Were he the greatest or the proudest he,
That breathes this day; if so it might be found
That any good to either might redound,
I unappalled, dare in such a case
Rip up his foulest crimes before his face,
Though for my labour I were sure to drop
Into the mouth of ruin without hope.