The Poetry Corner

From a Satire written to King James I

By George Wither

Did I not know a great man's power and might In spite of innocence can smother right, Colour his villainies to get esteem, And make the honest man the villain seem? I know it, and the world doth know 'tis true, Yet I protest if such a man I knew, That might my country prejudice or thee Were he the greatest or the proudest he, That breathes this day; if so it might be found That any good to either might redound, I unappalled, dare in such a case Rip up his foulest crimes before his face, Though for my labour I were sure to drop Into the mouth of ruin without hope.