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In Praise of the Hemp-Seed

John Taylor 1578 (Gloucester) – 1653

Tis paper (being printed) doth reveale
Th' Eternall testament of all our weale:
In paper is recorded the records
Of the Great all-Creating Lord of Lords.
Upon this weake ground, strongly is engran'd
The meanes how man was made, and lost, and sav'd,
Bookes Patriarchall, and Prophetical,
Historicall, or heav'nly Mystical,
Evangelicke, and Apostolical,
Writ in the sacred Text, in general.
Much hath the Church (our mother) propagated
By venerable Fathers workes translated
Saint Jerome, Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine,
Saint Basill, Bernard, Cyprian, Constantine:
Eusebius, Epiphanius, Origen,
Ignatius, and Lactantius (reverend men)
Good Luther, Calvine, learned Zwinglius,
Melancton, Beza, Oecolampadius,
These, and a world more then I can recite
Their labours would have slept in endlesse night,
But that in paper they preserv'd have bin
T' instruct us how to shun death, hell, and sin.
How should we know the change of monarchies,
Th' Assyrian, and the Persian Emperies,
Great Alexanders, large, smal lasting glory
Or Romes high Caesars often changing story?
How should Chronologies of Kings be knowne
Of either other countryes, or our owne?
But that Josephus, and Suetanius
Pollidore, Virgil, and Oretlius,
Seneca, and Cornelius Tacitus
With Scaliger, and Quintus Curtius;
Plutarch, Guichiardine, Gallobelgicus
Thomasio, and Hector Boetius;
Fox, Copper, Froysard, Grafton, Fabian,
Hall, Hove'den, Lanquet, Sleiden, Buchanan,
The Reverend learned Cambden, Selden, Stowe,
With Polychronicon, and Speed, and Howe,
With Parris, Malmsbury, and many more
Whose workes in paper are yet extant store.

Philemon Holland (famous for translation)
Hath (with our owne tongue) well inricht our nation.
Esope, and Aristotle, Pliny, Plato,
Pithagoras, and Cicero, and Cato,
Du Bartas, Ariosto, Martial, Tasso,
Plantus, and Homer, Terence, Virgill, Naso,
Fraunciscus Petrark, Horace, Juvenal,
Philosophers, and ex'lent Poets all.

Or Orators, historians, every one
In paper made their worthy studies knowne.

Who ever went beyond our learned King,
Whose Art throughout the spacious world doth ring:
Such a Divine, and Poet, that each State
Admires him, whom they cannot imitate,

In Paper, many a Poet now survives
Or else their lines had perish'd with their lives.
Old Chaucer, Gower, and Sir Thomas More,
Sir Philip Sidney who the Lawrell wore,
Spencer, and Shakespeare did in Art excell,
Sir Edward Dyer, Greene, Nash, Daniell.
Silvester, Beaumont, Sir John Harrington,
Forgetfulnesse their workes would overrun
But that in paper they immortally
Do live in spight of death, and cannot die.

And many there are living at this day
Which do in paper their true worth display:
As Davis, Drayton, and the learned Dun,
Jonson, and Chapman, Marston, Middleton,
With Rowyle, Fletcher, Withers, Messenger,
Heywood, and all the rest where e're they are,
Must say their lines, but for the paper she ete
Had scarcely ground whereon to set their feete.

Acts, Statues, Lawes, would be consum'd and lost
All right and order, topsy-turvy tost:
Oppression, wrong, destruction and confusion,
We'rt not for paper, were the worlds conclusion.
Negotiations, and Embassages
Maps, Cartes, discoveries of strange passages:
Leagues, truces, combinations, and contracts,
Lawes, Nat'rall, Morall, Civill and Divine,
T' instruct, reprove, correct, inlarge, confine.

All Memorandums of forepassed ages,
Sayings and sentences of auncient Sages,
Astronomy, and Phisick much renownd,
The Liberall Arts rules, maxiomes, or ground,
The glory of Apolloes Radient shine,
Supporter of the Sacred sisters Nine,
The Atlas, that all histories doth beare
Throughout the world, here, there, and every where.

All this and more is paper, and all this,
From fruitfull Hempseed still produced is. . . .

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:54 min read

John Taylor

Sir John Taylor, KCB, FRIBA was a British architect. more…

All John Taylor poems | John Taylor Books

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