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They will attempt the mountain steep,
You, friend, like me, the trade of rhyme Avoid, elab'rate waste of time, Nor are content to be undone, To pass for Phoebus' crazy son. Poems, the hop-grounds of the brain, Afford the most uncertain gain ; And lott'ries never tempt the wise With blanks so many to a prize. I only transient visits pay, Meeting the Muses in my way, Scarce known to the fastidious dames, Nor skill'd to call them by their names. Nor can their passports in these days, Your profit warrant, or your praise. On Poems by their dictates writ, Critics, as sworn appraisers, sit, And mere upholst'rers in a trice On gems and painting set a price. These tayl'ring artists for our lays Invent cramp'd rules, and with strait stays Striving free Nature's shape to hit, Emaciate sense,
before they fit.
A common place, and many friends, Can serve the plagiary's ends.
Whose easy vamping talent lies,
But there's a Youth that you can name, Who needs no leading strings to fame, Whose quick maturity of brain The birth of Pallas may explain : Dreaming of whose depending fate, I heard Melpomene debate, This, this is he, that was foretold Should emulate our Greeks of old. Inspir'd by me with sacred art, He sings, and rules the varied heart; If Jove's dread anger he rehearse, We hear the thunder in his verse; If he describes love turn'd to rage, The furies riot in his page. If he fair liberty and law By ruffian pow'r expiring draw, The keener passions then engage Aright, and sanctify their rage; If he attempt disastrous love, We hear those plaints that wound the grove. Within the kinder passions glow, And tears distill'd from pity flow.
From the bright vision I descend, And my deserted theme attend.
Me never did ambition seize,
This par'dise-tree, so fair and high,
Contentment, parent of delight,
grave and solemn garb of Spleen,
The whizzing shafts, that round them fy:
Forc'd by soft violence of pray'r, The blithsome Goddess sooths my care, I feel the Deity inspire, And thus she models my desire. Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid, Annuity securely made, A farm some twenty miles from town, Small, tight, salubrious, and my own; Two maids, that never saw the town, A serving-man not quite a clown, A boy to help to tread the mow, And drive, while t’other holds the plough ; A chief, 'of temper form’d to please, Fit to converse, and keep the keys; And better to preserve the peace, Commission'd by the name of niece; With understandings of a size To think their master very wise.