THE AULD COMPLAYNT
Read this today, and laughed:
I tossed my imagination a thousand ways to see if I could find any means to relieve my estate: but all my thoughts consorted to this conclusion, that the world was uncharitable, and I ordained to be miserable. Thereby I grew to consider how many base men that wanted those parts which I had, enjoyed content at will, and had wealth at command: I called to mind a Cobbler, that was worth five hundred pound, an Hostler that had built a goodly Inn and might dispend forty pounds yearly by his Land, a Carre-man in a leather pilche, that had whipped out a thousand pound out of his horse tail: and have I more wit than all these (thought I to myself) am I better born? am I better brought up? yea and better favoured? and yet am I a beggar? What is the cause? how am I crossed? or whence is this curse? Even from hence, that men that should employ such as I am, are enamoured of their own wits, and think what ever they do is excellent, though it be never so scurvy: that Learning (of the ignorant) is rated after the value of the ink and paper: and a Scrivener better paid for an obligation, than a Scholar for the best poem he can make; that every gross brained Idiot is suffered to come into print, who if he set forth a Pamphlet of the praise of Pudding-pricks, or write a Treatise of Tom Thumb, or the exploits of Vntrusse [sic]; it is bought up thick and threefold, when better things lie dead. How then can we choose but be needy, when there are so many Drones amongst us? or ever prove rich that toil a whole year for fair looks?From Pierce Penniless by Thomas Nashe. Date? 1592.