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For pity’s fake it would be juft,
A röd should turn them back to dust.
Let folks in high or holy stations Be proud of owning such relations; Let courtiers hug them in their bofoin, As if they were afraid to lose 'em : While I, with humble Job, had rather Say to corruption -thou’rt my father. For he that has fo little wit To nourish vermin may be bit.
LL human race would fain be wits,
And millions miss for one that hits. Young's universal passion, pride, Was never known to spread so wide. Say Britain, could you ever boast Three poets in an age at most? Our chilling climate hardly bears A sprig of bays in fifty years :
While ev'ry fool his claim alledges,
As if it grew in common hedges.
What reason can there be assign'd
For this perverseness in the mind ?
Brutes find out where their talents lie :
A bear will not attempt to fly;
A founder'd borse will oft debate
Before he tries a five-barr'd gate :
A dog by inftin& turns aside,
Who sees the ditch too deep and wide.
But man we find the only creature
Who, led by folly, combats nature;
Who, when she loudly cries forbear,
With obstinacy fixes there;
And where his genius least inclines,
Absurdly bends his whole designs.
Not empire to the rising sun
By valour, conduct, fortune won;
Not highest wisdom in debates
From framing laws to govern states ;
Not skill in sciences profound
So large to grasp the circle round;
Such heav'nly influence require,
As how to strike the Muse's lyre.
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 gypsies lite’ring under hedges,
Are so disqualify'd by fate
To rise in church, or law, or state,
As he, whom Phæbus in his ire
Hath blasted with poetic fire.
What hope of custom in the fair,
While not a soul demands your ware?
Where 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 aukward, when you try to flatter ;
Your portion, taking Britain round,
Was just one annual hundred pound; Now not so much as in remainder, Since Cibber brought in an attainder ; For ever fixt by right divine (A monarch's right) on Grubstreet line.
Paid to the poet laureat, which place was given to Mr. Colley Cibber, a player.
Poor starv'ling bard, how small thy
How unproportion'd to thy pains !
And here a smile cômes 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 critick’s prey,
o'er a dish of tea ;
Gone to be never heard of more,
Gone where the chickens went before.
How shall a new attempter learn
Of diff'rent spirits to discern,
And how distinguish which is which,
The poet's vein, or scribbling itch ?
Then hear an old experienc'd finner,
Instructing thus a young beginner.
Consult yourself, and if you find A pow'rful inpulse urge your mind, Impartial judge within your breast What subject you can manage Whether your genius most inclines To satire, praise, or hum'rous lines, Vol. VII. S
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 fcratch your head, and bite your nails.
Your poem finish’d, next your care
Is needíul to transcribe it fair.
In modern wit, all printed trash is
Set off with num’rous 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;
Eut when in capitals exprest,
The dullest reader smoaks the jest:
Or else perhaps he
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,,