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Poem by John Oldham


The Careless Good Fellow


A pox of this fooling, and plotting of late,
What a pother, and stir has it kept in the state?
Let the rabble run mad with suspicions, and fears,
Let them scuffle, and jar, till they go by the ears:
	Their grievances never shall trouble my pate,
	So I can enjoy my dear bottle at quiet.

What coxcombs were those, who would barter their ease
And their necks for a toy, a thin wafer and mass?
At old Tyburn they never had needed to swing,
Had they been but true subjects to drink, and their king;
	A friend, and a bottle is all my design;
	He has no room for treason, thats top-full of wine.

I mind not the members and makers of laws,
Let them sit or prorogue, as his majesty please:
Let them damn us to woollen, Ill never repine
At my lodging, when dead, so alive I have wine:
	Yet oft in my drink I can hardly forbear
	To curse them for making my claret so dear.

I mind not grave asses, who idly debate
About right and succession, the trifles of state;
Weve a good king already: and he deserves laughter
That will trouble his head with who shall come after:
	Come, heres to his health, and I wish he may be
	As free from all care, and all trouble, as we.

What care I how leagues with the Hollander go?
Or intrigues betwixt Sidney, and Monsieur DAvaux?
What concerns it my drinking, if Cassel be sold,
If the conqueror take it by storming, or gold?
	Good Bordeaux alone is the place that I mind,
	And when the fleets coming, I pray for a wind.

The bully of France, that aspires to renown
By dull cutting of throats, and ventring his own;
Let him fight and be damnd, and make matches and treat,
To afford the news-mongers, and coffee-house chat:
	Hes but a brave wretch, while I am more free,
	More safe, and a thousand times happier than he.

Come he, or the Pope, or the Devil to boot,
Or come faggot, and stake; I care not a groat;
Never think that in Smithfield I porters will heat:
No, I swear, Mr. Fox, pray excuse me for that.
	Ill drink in defiance of gibbet, and halter,
	This is the profession, that never will alter.



John Oldham


John Oldham's other poems:
  1. A Dithyrambic
  2. David's Lamentation for the Death of Saul and Jonathan, Paraphrased
  3. Upon the Works of Ben Jonson
  4. To the Memory of My Dear Friend, Mr. Charles Morwent
  5. Promising a Visit


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