VVit and VVealth Contending for PREHEMINENCE: IN A different Dialogue Between

  • Wat Witty-pole and
  • Davy Rich.
You who have wit, or wealth (or both) to looke,
Are wish't (impartially) upon this booke.

LONDON, Printed for T. B. at the Sign of the Maiden­head, neare Holborn Conduit. 1647.

A DIALOGUE BETWEEN VVit and VVealth.

Wat.

CAre I for thy worldly trash? not a rush: tell not mée of thy millions, thousands, and hundreds: I prayse my (bountifull) starres I have an inbred treasury, not valuable in res­pect of that which thou countest good.

Davy,

I, I, talk on, talk on; it seemes thou art neither acquainted with wealth, nor (what thou brag'st of most) wit; for thou art quite beside thy Arethmatick, putting the cart before the horses millions first, and hundreds last: a preposterous Argument suitable to thy disposition.

Wat:

Why? I tell thee (foole) I am soe wea­ried from the very conception of any thought [Page 3]concerning Riches, that tis noe wonder, if all words spoken by mee on that hatefull subiect prove to be abortive.

Da.

How doest thou live then, I prithee?

Wat.

By my wit, I tell thée, and hold it a farre richer Patrimony then all thy gold can make thee soe much as capable of.

Da.

Marry I tell thee in my conceit thou'st but a very bad trade on't now. What canst thou expect to get by thy wit, in an age which regards neither wit, honesty, conscience, humanity. No­ble-Ancestrey, nor indeed (to bee briefe) any thing; but what I am Master of, (and by which I can accomplish whatsoever my thoughts would acquire) and that is money, the darling of the time, the conquerour of Conquerers, the Coyner of Honesty, and the Muzzell of Elo­quence?

Wat.

O brave Davy, why now I perceive the case is much altered since I saw thée last, I doe not think but thou haste bought (and read) Greens Groats worth of Wit, or (rather) Wits Common-wealth; why thy phrase and man­ners is quite changed from what was wont to bée, or I now expected, I do not think but thou art become one of the wits of the times, all thy usuall Dialect was Opus & usus, or Noverint [Page 4]universi, &c. but now let me sée what is't the Darling of the Time, Conquerour of Conquer­ers, Muzzle of Eloquence; O rare stile I but tell me Davy, is all this Rhethorick proper to Pelf?

Davy.

This quotha? why I'd have thee to know Wat, that these golden phrases, and thousands more daily in use are the very children of drosse (as thou callest it) Subjects of silver, Servants and slaves of gold: why man didst never heare talke of golden Boyes, Girles worth gold, and penny white, brown bread Lasses? I'm sure thou hast Wat.

Wat.

I marry have I, what then? are all these Epethits equivalent with an admirable wit, a quaint conceit, a curious delivery, an ex­quisite device, an elaborate stile, and a gallant humour?

Davy,

Tush, what of all this? why, I say a­gaine and againe, and as many times againe as thou wilt, that all this, and as much as thou canst sum up between Shrove-tide and Easter, are but L [...]nt by the benevolence of industrious gold and silver, does not money buy Learning? and (I prethee) does not learning make Divines, Law­yers Phisicians, Phylosophers, Poets, and what not? Ergo, no mony no Master, no Master no [Page 5]Scholler; for it is an old Proverb, No penny, no Paternoster; therefore Wat leave off thy bragging of wit, least thou prove thy self a fool, in preferring it before wealth, which is (as it were) a creator of Wit.

Wat.

I protest Davy, though indéed I never held thée to bée very wise, yet I tell thée, I ne­ver expected such a vacuity of discretion, as now thou hast bewrayed in thy last discourse, out up­on thée, hold thy tongue for shame, till thou learn how to use it better: I vow I'me asham'd of thée.

Davy.

Why Sirrah? tell me patiently, I beleeve in truth this is but a flourish of wit, a meere whimfie to daunt me, and make mee leave off, but in faith thou art a younger brother in that, all thy witty flashes cannot beat me off from my ground, I say still, that wealth is to be preferred before wit, as being (in a manner) the very nurse and foster father of it, all these thy bravadoes shall never beat me off, while I can speak my minde to maintain it.

Wat.

I marry, thou hast spun a fine thred in­déed, thy argument is even as strong as a Spi­ders web, which thou shalt sée me presently blow away, and dissolve with a blast from my mouth; thou hast spoken like a méere Dody-pole as thou [Page 6]art, in séeking to prove that Wealth buyes Learning, and Learning creates wit, when it is apparently séen to the contrary; onely this I confesse that Literature is a most necessary handmaid to the Muses, without which (indéed) they cannot be well dressed, but Poëta nasci [...]ur non fit, a Poet is so born, not so made, for un­lesse a man have an inbred and naturall proclivi­ty, what boots all his Learning? nay rather, doth it not render him more odious to his audi­tors, who expecting the Nut of Learning, finde nothing but the shell of guilded ignorance, like a Iay deck'd in Peacocks feathers, a Sow with a gold ring in her snout, and a Millers Asse, garnished with the rich saddle and trappings of Beucephelus, doth not the experience of all ages ratifie this? speak men.

Davy.

Thou wouldst inforce me to beleeve so, but I neither can nor will, without particu­lars to confirm thy words more then a generall saying that it is so, therefore I absolutely deny the Argument to be good unlesse thou canst in­stance some pregnant proofe to justifie thy as­sertion.

Wat.

That I can very readily doe, not néed­ing to trouble thée with precedent men & times, but even turning to those now living in this [Page 7]present age, and of them one most eminent may serve to dignifie a multitude of others more ob­scure: what thinkest thou of that notable (only) English Poet John Taylor, how many sublime and (truely) witty Poems hath bée published in Print? raising a Pyramides to his never dy­ing memory, of an ingenuous fertile braine without any addition of learning worth menti­on: but what his own industrious (and inbred) capacity hath possest him of; what curry-combs hath hee taken out of the Iron-mongers own shop to dresse the (ill conditioned) Iade withall? how artificially hath he rosted and broyled him upon his own spits, and grid-irons, how hath hée fry'd and toss'd him in his own frying-pan, basted him with his own ladle, and boyl'd him like a Calves-head and Bacon in his own pot­tage-pot? Now I prethée judge impartially of this; the one vaunts much of great learning (which thou sayest is bought with money) the other professeth himself to be guilty of very lit­tle (if any) and yet how different their writings are, having (with all possible acerbity prest the Presse against each other, the world hath censur­ed already, and so doe thou now.

Davy.

Why, is not the Iron-monger coun­ted for a pregnant witty fellow? I think he is, [Page 8]he hath published (and doth weekly) a number of Pamphlets, which some like exceeding well

Wat.

Why, I tell thée hée hath no wit, but a [...] kinde of railing invention; was ever any ag [...] guilty of producing such a firebrand of mis­chiefe? what pestiferous incentives hath hee writen and published, to stir up sedition betwixt the King and his people, while it is to be feared hée is really true to neither.

Davy.

Well then, leaving this discourse, let us proceed to something (in my conceit) more pertinent to our purpose, which shall bee this: whether Wit or Wealth (as I touched in the beginning) will best feed and cloath a man? an­swer me to that briefly and plainly; here's the case, thou hast Wit enough, and I have Wealth enough; now which of them affords the best maintenance, there lies the state of the question, I hold my principle still, Wealth is to be prefer­red before Wit?

Wat.

And I will confidently defend the pre­cedency of Wit before Wealth, as being a di­vine and supernaturall gift, which mony can never purchase.

Davy.

That's confest but neverthelesse thou canst not deny but Wealth is a Divine gift, as well as Wit, is it not? doth not holy writ men­tion [Page 9]many godly men, very rich?

Wat.

I prethée Davy let holy Writ alone in our quarrell, for I love not to mix holy and pro­phane matters together, but if thou shouldest hedge in them to make thy fence the stronger, the examples are so few, in comparison of o­thers, that have abandoned riches to imbrace contemplation in poverty; that the difference would easily appeare; to what end thinkest thou did my Couzen Crates that witty Phylosopher, throw all his wealth (which was abundance) into the Sea; was it not because it was an im­pediment to his study, and our Poets in imitati­on of him, if they be possest with any worldly trash (as loathing to kéep it) doe they not drown it in Sack, as he drowned his in the Sea? what should he doe with wealth, who hates it in com­parison of his study? the Muses children ne're turn Vsurers, nor care they for coyn, but for ne­cessity, all besides is superfluous.

Davy.

This is all true (I confesse) but tell me one thing Wat, how if thou should'st come to be sick, lame, cast in prison, or feel any such kind of affliction, can thy wit ease or release thee, will the Phisitians, or Gaolers, take learned Epistles, or witty Poems, in lieu of their fees, canst thou in rime shew them a reason why they should [Page 10]deliver thee without money? nay, Ile goe [...] nearer and easier way with thee, canst thou by such meanes procure any palliation or mitigati­on to (or of) thy mis [...]y, will they be mollified with Madrigalls, softned with Sonets, entreated with Epigrams overcome with Odes? tell mee seriously, Wat, what think'st thou? whether will Wit or Wealth (in such sad exigents) stand thee in the most stead?

Wat.

This touches home I protest, thou ne­ver graveld'st me till now, yet Ile beare up still; and suppose that reliefe may be gain'd by Art; for if Orpheus had power with his dulced har­mony to convert salvage beasts from their natu­rall (and customary) truculency, can it be ima­gined that men (such as are Phisitians or Gao­lers) should be more barbarous then bruit beasts, more salvage then Satyres, more cruel then Ca­niballs, and more inhumane then Incubuses, have I clench'd the nayle Davy, what sayest thou?

Davy.

Very sleightly, Wat, nay, now I per­ceive thou beginnest to yeeld, I have beat thee out of thy pay run thee off o'thy legges, put thee besides thy Text, turn'd thee out of time, and whipt thee to confession of thy folly, yeeld up the [...] Wat for in truth thou art utterly [Page 11]foyl'd in thy argument, art thou not?

Wat.

Ne're the sooner for a hasty word, Da­vy, I confesse that I doubt some of this is to [...] true, but howsoever, Davy, let mee have tryall by thy own Law, thou didst put me to particu­lar proofes in a generall plain rase, the like I claime of thée.

Davy.

Very willingly, Wat, but let one in­clude many as thou servedst mee (about Iohn Taylor) there is an honest man, a very good friend of mine, and one whom thou knowest very well (but he shall now goe namelesse) he is (by many) accounted to have an indifferent por­tion of wit, but in this sad predicament being a close prisoner in Aulum Iustitia, belonging to Nova Porta) he is altogether destitute of mony, and consequently of friends; all shunning him (as a man utterly forlorn and forsaken;) nay, which is most (and worst) of all: Some to whom the key of his wit (when he was at liberty) did, in a manner, open the doore to their earthly hap­pinesse (I think they expect no heavenly) now in his distressed captivity, doe utterly abandon his sight not vouchsafing to visit him with money due to him, nor giving him former imployment, what sayest thou to this, Wat, wilt thou yet grant me the Victory?

Wat.
[Page 12]

Truely I am heartily sorry, that thou givest mee such (a failing) occasion; especially considering that he is an intimate acquaintance of mine (as thou sayest he is) tush, I am not ab­solutely induced to beléeve it; yet indéed this present age hath gotten the start of all precedent times for ingratitude, hypocrisie, hardnesse of heart, neglect of lawdable Arts (and Customes,) and indéed want of common honesty; but let mée sée, I was about to ask thée how the Gao­lers use him (for that was our argument before) but 'tis néedlesse discourse for if his professed and obliged friends, are so ingratefully cruell, a man may almost conclude it as an Article that his wit or honesty will but little prevaile with the Kéepers without that which makes the Mare to goe.

Davy.

Why so I said before, and ye introth, Wat, I must needs (in his case) vary something from my first principle: for his particular he: hath found unexpected favour from his Keepers (whether wone by his wit, honesty, or both, I question not) for were not their hearts softned in consideration of his condition which is with­out paralell): he had been cast into the common Gaole before this time, there to have perished without any remedy.

Wat.
[Page 13]

Well, Davy, me thinks yet I smell the victory as hot in my nostrils as a Beare does honey in a marrow-bone: hast not thou confest it thy self? dost not thou (with pitying his case, withall) conclude that his wit and honesty pro­cure him favour without money? what can be more cleare? a [...] Davy? have I taken you tardy ath' last? come yeild, yeild.

Dav.

Well Wat: I perceive that if I give thee an Inch thou'lt take an Ell: but I prithee don't vaunt before the victory: suppose I have granted that the Keepers are kind to him beyond custo­mary use? wilt thou therefore runne away with the argument, as though the poore man might not be better us'd for money, if he had it? away with thee, thou a Wity-pole, thou a Dady-pole, (as thou call'st me) thou hast absolutely brought thy self into a Meander of folly; from which all thy pretended Wit cannot deliver thee.

Wat

O brave Davy, I protest I think the rich fool will carry't when all is done.

Davy.

Rich fool quotha, marry, Wat, as the world goes now adaies, he's most wise (or wity, or what thou wilt call it) that can keep a penny for a rainy day (as the Proverb sayes) come, come Wat, have thou wit to save thy money when thou hast it, thou'lt brook thy name the better [Page 14]by't, doe not stand upon a vain opinion of living by thy wit, I tell thee thou mayest as well turn Chamelion and live by the a [...]re, consider with thy self, the condition of people, though they speak faire in prosperity, while the golden sun or the silver Moon of thy fortunes, reflect upon them, what will they doe, or what will they say when those refulgent Luminaries are set or eclipsed, Faith, if thou wantst either meat, drink, or appa­rell, so thou mayst, till new Lights be recovered, if thou owe money, wit will not pay it, thats cer­taine.

Wat,
Well though this age my humor will not fit,
The time hath been, when I liv'd by my wit.
And bravely too, my minde unto my selfe,
Yeelding content; exceeded all thy pelf.
A rich man ne'r content, still wishes more,
Ith' midst of's wealth, hees miserably poore,
The poore man pleas'd with what rich heaven hath sent,
Is rich in minde, being with his state content.
Hang pelf (say I) Ile ne'r be slave to it.
Ile rather mak't a slave to me and wit.
Davy.

Then, Wat, it séems all these reasons don't move thée to retract thy sayings.

Wat.
No, Davy no, I will not yeeld a whit,
Nor say that cursed Wealth shall reigne o're Wit:
Wit is a branch of Wisdoms sacred tree,
Whose root's in heaven, but on the contrary,
Gold grows ith' earth, and causeth so much evill,
That many men to gain it, serve the devill.
[Page 15]For my part, what is needfull, I respect,
The rest I (as superfluous chaffe) reject,
Could food and rayment bought with rushes be,
Take gold and silver then who list for m [...].
Davy.

Well Wat, thou hast got two strings to thy bow, what thou canst not get with rea­son thou'lt have in rime, well, Ile yeeld on one condition.

Wat.

What's that, a request that is reason­able, or rimeable, speak?

Davy.

Both, I desire a Song before we part, that shall end our controversie.

Wat.

Wilt thou not be angry? may I sing what comes at my tongues end.

Davy,

I, I, what comes next let's have it, I prethee honest Wat.

Wat.

Then have at it, 't shall bée extempore, a tryall of Wit.

A Song. To the tune of, See the building, &c.
I.
FY on fond riches,
That earthly mindes bewitches,
to griefe and Smart:
Woe worth that treasure,
Which doth beyond all measure,
insnare the heart.
Wellfare those spirits that ascend.
the forked Mountain.
and taste that Fountain,
[Page 16]Whose dulced streames no tongue can right commend:
Such is the matchlesse pleasure,
that doth on Wit attend.
2.
Observe the sorrowes,
Which the rich Miser borrows,
who lends for gaine:
Note well the passions
And sleeps preocupations,
which vex his braine.
Take notice also of the joy,
which he'es possest off
who makes a jest off
This momentary trash, which as a toy,
wee wits throwe downe before us,
the drawers to Imploy.
3.
Give me that necter,
Which is my hearts directer:
my Muses guide,
No earthly metle.
Hath power my thoughts to setle,
my fancies ride.
Through Heaven, Hell, Sea, Land, and Sky,
all in a moment,
and I can comment.
On all events, and judge both lowe and high,
so's hee thats an affecter,
of heavenly Poetry.
Davy.
Gramercy Wat this song deserves my prayse,
Were it for nothing els, thou win'st the Bayes.
Adeiu honest Wat witypole.
Wat.
Davy farwell; anon I'l drink a health,
To him who rates my wit above his wealth.
Exit ambo.
FINIS.

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