« السابقةمتابعة »
Not beggar's brat on bulk begot;
Not bastard of a pedlar Scot;
Not boy brought up to cleaning shoes,
The spawn of Bridewell or the stews ;
Not infants dropt, the spurious pledges
Of gipsies littering under hedges,
Are so disqualified by fate
To rise in church, or law, or state,
As he whom Phoebus in his ire
Hath blasted with poetic fire.
What hope of custom in the fair,
While not a soul demands your ware?
Where you have nothing to produce
For private life or public use?
Court, city, country, want you not;
You cannot bribe, betray, or plot.
For poets law makes no provision ;
The wealthy have you in derision :
Of state-affairs you cannot smatter;
Are awkward when you try to flatter:
Your portion, taking Britain round,
Was just one annual hundred pound*;
Now nor so much as in remainder
Since Cibber brought in an attainder;
For ever fix'd by right divine
(A monarch's right) on Grub-street line.
Poor starveling bard! how small thy gains !
How unproportion'd to thy pains!
And here a simile comes pat in;
Though chickens take a month to fatten,
The guests in less than half an hour
Will more than half a score devour.
So after toiling twenty days
To earn a stock of pence and praise,
Thy labours, grown the critic's prey,
Are swallow'd o'er a dish of tea;
Gone, to be never heard of more,
Gone, where the chickens went before.
* Paid to the Poet-laureat, which place was given to Mr. Colley Cibber, a player,
How shall a new attempter learn
Of different spirits to discern?
And how distinguish which is which,
The poet's vein or scribbling itch?
Then hear an old experienc'd sinner
Instructing thus a young beginner.
Consult yourself, and if you find
A powerful impulse urge your mind,
Impartial judge within your breast
What subject you can manage best ;
Whether your genius most inclines
To satire, praise, or humorous lines;
To elegies in mournful tone,
Or prologue sent from hand unknown;
Then rising with Aurora's light,
The Muse invok'd, sit down to write ;
Blot out, correct, insert, refine,
Enlarge, diminish, interline;
Be mindful, when invention fails,
To scratch your head and bite your nails.
Your poem finish'd, next your care
Is needful to transcribe it fair:
In modern wit all printed trash is
Set off with numerous breaks-and dashes-
To statesmen would you give a wipe,
You print it in Italic type:
When letters are in vulgar shapes,
"Tis ten to one the wit escapes ;
But when in Capitals exprest,
The dullest reader smokes the jest;
Or else perhaps he may invent
A better than the poet meant,
As learned commentators view
In Homer, more than Homer knew.
Your poem in its modish dress,
Correctly fitted for the press,
Convey by penny.post to Lintot,
But let no friend alive look into't.
If Lintot thinks 'twill quit the cost,
You need not fear your labour lost:
And how agreeably surpris'd
Are you to see it advertis'd!
The hawker shews you one in print,
As fresh as farthings from the mint,
The product of your toil and sweating,
A bastard of your own begetting.
Be sure at Will's the followiog day
Lie snug, and hear what critics say,
And if you find the general vogue
Pronounces you a stupid rogue,
Damns all your thoughts as low and little;
Sit still, and swallow down your spittle :
Be silent as a politician,
For talking may beget suspicion ;
Or praise the judgment of the Town,
And help yourself to run it down ;-
Give up your fond paternal pride,
Nor argue on the weaker side:
For poems read without a name
We justly praise or justly blame;
And critics have no partial views,
Except they know whom they abuse;
And since you ne'er provok'd their spite,
Depend upon't, their judgment's right.
But if you blab you are undone,
Consider what a risk you run ;
You lose your credit all at once,
The Town will mark you for a dunce;
The vilest doggrel Grub-street sends,
Will pass for your's with foes and friends,
And you must bear the whole disgrace,
Till some fresh blockhead takes your place.
Your secret kept, your poem sunk,
And sent in quires to line a trunk,
If still you be dispos'd to rhyme,
Go try your hand a second time.
Again you fail; yet Safe's the word ;
Take courage, and attempt a third :
But first with care employ your thoughts
Where critics mark'd your former faults ;
The trivial turns, the borrow'd wit,
The similes that nothing fit;
The cant which every fool repeats,
Town-jests, and coffee-house conceits;
Descriptions tedious, flat, and dry,
And introduc'd the Lord knows why;
Or where we find your fury set
Against the harmless alphabet;
On A's and B's your malice vent,.
While readers wonder whom you meant ;
A public or a private robber,
A statesman or a South-sea jobber;
A prelate, who no God believes;
A p-m-t or den of thieves ;
A pickpurse at the bar or bench,
A dutchess or a suburb-wench;
An House of Peers, a gaming crew,
A griping --- or a Jew.
Or oft, when epithets you link
In gaping lines to fill a chink,
Like stepping-stones to save a stride
In streets where kennels are too wide;
Or like a heel-piece to support
A cripple, with one foot too short;
Or like a bridge that joins a marsh
To moorlands of a different parish.
So have I seen ill.coupled hounds
Drag different ways in miry grounds;
So geographers in Afric maps
With savage pictures fill their gaps,
And o'er unhabitable downs
Place elephants for want of towns.
But though you miss your third essay,
You need not throw your pen away.
Lay now aside all thoughts of fame,
To spring more profitable game.
From party-merit seek support;
The vilest verse thrives best at court:
And may you ever have the luck
To rhyme almost as ill as Duck;
And though you never learn'd to scan verse,
Come out with some lampoon on D'Anvers.
A pamphlet in Sir Bob's defence
Will never fail to bring in pence:
Nor be' concern'd about the sale,
He pays his workmen on the nail.
Display the blessings of the nation,
And praise the whole administration :
Extol the bench of bishops round;
Who at them rail, bid - confound :
To bishop-haters answer thus,
(The only logic us’d by us)
What though they don't believe in,
Deny them Protestants-thou liest.
A prince, the moment he is crown'd,
Inherits every virtue round,
As emblems of the sovereign pow'r,
Like other baubles in the Tow'r;
Is generous, valiant, just, and wise,
And so continues till he dies :
His humble Senate this professes
In all their speeches, votes, addresses;
But once you fix him in a tomb,
His virtues fade, his vices bloom,
And each perfection, wrong imputed,
Is fully at his death confuted.
The loads of poems in his praise,
Ascending, make one funeral blaze;
His panegyrics then are ceast;
He grows a tyrant, dunce, or beast :
As soon as you can hear his knell,
This god on earth turns devil in hell:
And, lo! his ministers of state,
Transform'd to imps, his levee wait,
Where, in the scenes of endless woe,
They ply their former arts below;
And as they sail in Charon's boat,
Contrive to bribe the judge's vote.
To Cerberus they give a sop,
His triple barking mouth to stop;