In 1602, Sir John Davies (1569-1626) penned Yet Other Twelve Wonders of the World, which included this salvo called "The Lawyer":

The Law my calling is, my robe, my tongue, my pen.
Wealth and opinion gain, and make me judge of men.
The known dishonest cause, I never did defend,
Nor spun out suits in length, but wisht and sought an end
Nor counsel did bewray, nor of both parties take,
Nor ever tooke I fee for which I never spake.

Davies was an Oxford-educated lawyer, called to the bar in 1588 but disbarred when he hit a friend with a stick at a dinner party. It was during his time of professional penitence that he took to poetry.

His poems became a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and through favour, he had himself reinstated to the bar in 1601.

When Elizabeth died and was replaced by King James, the new king knew well of Davies' writings. Davies was appointed Solicitor General for Ireland. When he returned to England in 1619, he was appointed a judge. In 1626, he was named Lord Chief Justice of England, but died a day before assuming office.

REFERENCES:

  • Davies, Sir John, The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies. Vol II. (London: Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly, 1876) page 67.
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Poetic Justice: Law Poems