Of a Traveling Thought

A thought, for breeding, would a traveller be,
The several countries in the brain to see.
Spurred with desires he was,1 booted with hope,
His cap, curios’ty, patience was his2 cloak.
Thus suited, then3 a horse he did provide:                               5
Strong Imagination he got4 to ride,
Which, saddled with ambition, girt5 with pride,
Bridled with doubt, and6 stirrups on each side
Of resolution, he did mount, and7 went
In a full gallop of a good intent.                                                10
Some ways i’th’brain were ill and foul withal,8
Which made him oft into deep errors fall.9
Oft was he hid by mountains high of fear, 10
Then slid down precipices of despair; 11
Woods of forgetfulness he oft passed12 through;                  15
To find the right way out, had much ado.
In troubles he had travelled a long way;
At last he came where thieves of spite close lay,
Who, coming forth, drew out reproachful words
Which wounded reputation, as sharp swords.                      20
When he did feel the wound smart, he13 drew out
Truth from14 Time’s scabbard, and fought well and15 stout;
With an innocent thrust he left spite dead,
Wiped off the blood of slander, purple red.
Then coming16 to a river of temptation,                                 25
Which deep and dang’rous was17 of tribulation,
He swam with Temp’rance, and18 got out at last,
And with security all dangers past.
At last got to the city19 of power,
Where tyranny did stand, a great high tower,20                   30
With discords populous, where21 Riot rules;
Great colleges there were,22 to breed up fools;
Large houses of extortion23 high were built,
And all with prodigality were gilt.
Their streets were pitched with dull and lazy stone,           35
Which never hurt the feet when trod upon.24
Markets of plentiful25 circuits were there,
Where all sorts came, and did26 buy without care.
Herbs of repentance there were in great store,
But roots of ignorance were many more.                               40
The carts of knowledge much provision brought,27
And understanding, which Truth sold, some bought.28
Yet what is bought proves good or bad by chance,29
For some were cozened by false ignorance.
Then forthwith into shamble row he went,                           45
Where store of meat hung up, for ’twas not30 Lent;
There lay a head31 with wit and fancies filled,32
And many hearts by33 grief and sorrow killed.
Tongues of eloquence hung upon an ear;34
Bladders of windy opinions were there;35                             50
Weak livers of great fear lay there to sell,
And spleens of malice very big did swell; 36
Tough lungs of willfulness were hard37 and dry,
Whole guts of self-conceit did hang thereby.
Then to a poult’rers38 shop he went, to see                            55
What fowl there were,39 if any good there be.
There lay wild geese, though black and heavy meat,
Yet some gross appetite liked them to eat.
The choleric turkey, and the peacocks pride,
The foolish dott’rels40 lay there close beside.                        60
Capons of expectation, crammed with hope,
Swans41 of large desires lay in the shop.
Reproachful words were sold by dozens there,
And ignorant gulls did lie42 everywhere;
Poetical birds were many43 to sell,                                          65
More fowl, which he remembered not to tell.
But being a traveller, he’d44 see all there,
So straight he went45 to churches of great fear,
Where each one46 kneeled upon the knee of pain,
And prayers said with tongues that were profane.              70
Petitioning tears dropped from coveting eyes,
Deceitful hearts on altars of disguise.
Earnest they were to th’gods,47 that they would give
Worldly request, not grace for souls to live.
But travails48 of experience he would see,                             75
Which made him go to th’court49 of Vanity.
The porter Flattery sat at the gate,
Who civil was, and carried him in straight.
To Beauty’s presence chamber first he went,50
There stayed some time, with great and sweet content.     80
Next to the privy chamber of Discourse,
Where Ignorance and Nonsense had great force.
Then to the bedchamber of Love’s delights;
The grooms which served there were carpet knights.
Thence he to th’council51 of Direction went,                         85
Where great Disorder sat as president.
No sooner that poor stranger he did view,
Reproachful words out of his mouth he threw,
Commanding Poverty, a sergeant poor,
To take that stranger, cast him52 out of door.                        90
Straight Flattery for him entreated much,
But he Disorder’s ear doth seldom touch.
For cast he was into necessity,
Which is a prison of great misery.
But Patience got him an expedient pass,                                95
So home he went, but rode53 upon an ass.

  1. he was,] and 1653
  2. His cap, curios’ty, patience was his] Cap’t with curiosity, a patient 1653
  3. then] strait 1664; straight 1668
  4. Strong Imagination he got ] And Strong Imagination got 1664, 1668
  5. Which, saddled with ambition, girt] Sadl’d with Ambition, and girted 1653
  6. and] resolving 1653
  7. Of resolution, he did mount, and] When he was mounted, fast away they 1653
  8. i’th’brain were ill and foul withal,] in the brain, very ill, there were, 1653
  9. Which made him oft into deep errors fall.] Into deep errours, often tumbled th’are. 1653
  10. Oft was he hid by mountains high of fear,] High mountains of great fear, was forc’d to hide, 1653
  11. Then slid down precipices of despair;] Steep Precipices of Despair down slide. 1653
  12. he oft passed] they oft past 1653; he oft pass 1668
  13. smart, he] to smart, 1653
  14. Truth from] From 1653
  15. and fought well and] Truth which fought full 1653
  16. Then coming] Coming 1653
  17. Which deep and dang’rous was] Deep and dangerous 1653
  18. He swam with Temp’rance, and] With Temperance he swum, 1653; He Swum with Temp’rance, and 1664; He swum with Temp’rance, and 1668
  19. got to the city] he to the City came 1664; he to the City came, 1668
  20. Where tyranny did stand, a great high tower,] Whereon stood Tyranny, a great Tower. 1653
  21. where] there 1653
  22. were,] was 1653
  23. extortion] Extortions 1653
  24. hurt the feet, when trod upon.] hurts the feet when trodden on. 1653
  25. plentiful] Plent’ful 1664, 1668
  26. came, and did] did come, and 1653
  27. The carts of knowledge much provision brought,] Carts of knowledge brought much provisions in, 1653
  28. And Understanding, which Truth Sold, some bought.] Some understanding bought, which truth did bring: 1653
  29. Yet what is bought proves good or bad by chance,] All what was Bought, prov’d good or bad by chance, 1664; All what was bought, prov’d good, or bad, by chance: 1668
  30. not] no 1664, 1668
  31. a head] head 1653; an Head 1664, 1668
  32. filled,] fil’d 1653
  33. many hearts by] hearts were there, which 1653
  34. Tongues of Eloquence hung upon an ear;] And Tongues of Eloquence hung on an Ear; 1664; And Tongues of Eloquence hung on an Ear. 1668 [Between 1653 and 1664 these two lines are reversed; 1653 has the “tongues” line then the “bladders” line, while 1664 and 1668 have “bladders” then “tongues”. Textual notes record differences across similar lines.]
  35. of windy opinions were there;] blown with windy opinions there: 1653 [Between 1653 and 1664 these two lines are reversed; 1653 has the “tongues” line then the “bladders” line, while 1664 and 1668 have “bladders” then “tongues”. Textual notes record differences across similar lines.]
  36. spleens of malice very big did swell;] malice, spleens, which very big did swell. 1653
  37. were hard] hard 1653
  38. Then to a poultr’ers] Into a Poulterers 1653
  39. were,] was, 1664, 1668
  40. dott’rels] dotterels 1653; Dotterels 1664
  41. Swans] And Swans 1664, 1668
  42. did lie] lay 1653
  43. were many] many were 1664; many, were 1668
  44. he’d] would 1653
  45. So straight he went] And strait did go 1664; And straight did go 1668
  46. each one] every one 1653
  47. th’gods,] gods, 1653
  48. travails] Travels 1664, 1668
  49. th’court] the Court 1653
  50. To Beauty’s presence chamber first he went,] First to the Presence-chamber of Beauty went, 1653
  51. Thence he to th’council] From thence to Counsel 1653
  52. that stranger, cast him] and cast this stranger 1664; and cast this Stranger 1668
  53. rode] rid 1653, 1668; Rid 1664