On Poet-Ape

by Ben Jonson

Poore Poet-Ape, that would be thought our chiefe,
Whose works are eene the fripperie of wit,
From brockage is become so bold a thiefe,
As we, the rob’d, leave rage, and pittie it.
At first he makes low shifts, would picke and gleane,
Buy the reversion of old playes; now growne
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 devoures;
He markes not whose twas first; and after-times
May judge it to be his, as well as ours.
Foole, as if halfe eyes will not know the fleece
From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece.

Monadnock Valley Press > Jonson