A Discourse of a Knave

A prosperous knave, that mischief1 still doth plot,
Swells big with pride since he hath2 power got,
Whose3 conscience, like a purse drawn open4 wide,
False hands do cast in bribes on every side.
And as his5 guts are stuffed with excrement,                  5
So is his head with thoughts of ill intent.
No pity shows to men oppressed6 with grief,
But yet is apt to pity much a thief.
He thinks them fools that wickedness do shun,
Esteems them wise that7 evil ways do run.                      10
The noble he doth scorn if8 they be poor;
The rich, though ne’er so base, he doth adore.
He always smiles as if he peace still meant,
When all the while his heart to evil’s9 bent,
A seeming friendship,10 large professions make,           15
Where he doth think advantages to take.
Thus doth a glossing knave the world abuse;
To work his end, the Devil his11 friend will12 choose.

  1. mischief] Mischiefes 1653
  2. hath] has 1664, 1668
  3. Whose] His 1664, 1668
  4. drawn open] open and 1664; open, and 1668
  5. his] the 1653
  6. No pity shows to men oppressed] Compassions none, for them who’re pres’d 1653
  7. that] which 1653
  8. The noble he doth scorn if] He scornes the Noble, if that 1653
  9. to evil’s] is evill 1653
  10. A seeming friendship,] He’l Friendship shew, and 1664; Hee’l Friendship shew, and 1668
  11. his] a 1653
  12. will] he’l 1664; hee’l 1668