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Y Works are advertis'd for sale,
And censures fly as thick as hail; While my poor scheme of publication Supplies the dearth of conversation.
What will the World say?- That's your cry.
Who is the World? and what am I?
Once, but thank heaven, those days are o'er,
And persecution reigns no more,
One man, one hardy man alone,
Usurp'd the critic's vacant throne,
And thence with neither taste nor wit,
By powerful catcall from the pit,
Knock'd farce, and play, and actor down.
Who pass’d the sentence then?-the Town,
So now each upstart puny elf
Talks of the world, and means himself.
Yet in the circle there are those
Who hurt e'en more than
Whose friendship serves the talking turn,
Just fimmers to a kind concern,
And with a wond'rous soft expression
Expatiates upon indiscretion;
Flies from the Poems to the Man,
And gratifies the favourite plan
To pull down other's reputation,
And build their own on that foundation.
The scholar grave, of taste discerning,
Who lives on credit for his learning,
And has no better claim to wit
Than carping at what others writ,
With pitying kindness, friendly fear,
Whispers conjectures in your ear,
“ I'm sorry-and he's much to blame
“ He might have publish'd--but his name!
“ The thing might plcase a few, no doubt,
“ As handed privately about
“ It might amuse a friend or two,
“ Some partial friend like me and you;
“ But when it comes to press and print
“ You'll find, I fear, but little in't,
“ He stands upon a dangerous brink
“ Who totters o'er the sea of ink,
« Where reputation runs aground,
& The author cast away,
and drown'd. “ And then-'twas wilful and absurd, “ (So well approv'd, so well preferrd,)
Abruptly thus a place to quit “ A place which most his genius hit, • The theatre for Latin wit ! “ With critics round him chaste and terse, To give a plaudit to his verse!"
Latin, I grant, shews college breeding,
And some school-common-place of reading.
Bat has in Moderns small pretension
To real wit or strong invention.
The excellence you critics praise
Hangs on a curious choice of phrase;
Which pick'd and chosen here and there,
From prose or verse no matter where,
Jumbled together in a dish,
Like Spanish olio, fowl, flesh, fish,
You set the classic hodge-podge on
For pedant wits to feed upon.
Your wou'd-be Genii vainly seek
Fame for their Latin verse, or Greek;
Who would for that be most admir'd
Which blockheads may, and have acquir'd.
A mere mechanical connection
Of favourite words, a bare collection
Of phrases, where the labour'd cento
with a dull
How Virgil, Horace, Ovid join,
And club together half a line.
These only strain their motly wits
In gathering patches, shreds, and bits,
their barren fancies in, And make a claffic Harlequin.
- Were I at once impower'd to shew
My utmost vengeance on my foe,
To punish with extremeft rigour,
I could indiet no penance bigger
Than using him as learning's tool
To make him Usher of a school.
For, not to dwell upon the toil
Of working on a barren soil,
And lab'ring with incessant pains
To cultivate a blockhead's brains,
The duties there but ill befit
The love of letters, arts, or wit.
For whosoe'er, though slightly, fips,
Their grateful flavour with his lips,
Will find it leave a smatch behind,
Shall sink so deeply in the mind,
It never thence can be eras'd-
But, rising up, you call it Taste.
'Twere foolish for a drudge to chuse
A gusto which he cannot use.
Better discard the idle whim,
What's He to Taste? or Taste to Him?
it hurts me to the soul
To brook confinement or controul;
Still to be pinion'd down to teach
The syntax and the parts of speech;
Or, what perhaps is drudging worse,
The links, and joints, and rules of verse;
To deal out authors by retale,
Like penny pots of Oxford ale;
-Oh! 'Tis a service irksome more
Than tugging at the slavish oar.
Yet such his talk, a dismal truth,
Who watches o'er the bent of youth;