Part 3 out of 3
Awaked to vengeance, on such flights to frown,
Clip the wing'd horse, and roll his rider down.
But, if empower'd to strike th' immortal lyre,
The ardent vot'ry glows with genuine fire,
'Tis yours, while care recoils, and envy flies,
Subdued by his resistless energies,
'Tis yours to bid Pierian fountains flow,
And toast his name in Wit's seraglio;
To bind his brows with amaranthine bays,
And bless, with beef and beer, his mundane days!
Alas! nor beef, nor beer, nor bays, are mine,
If by your looks my doom I may divine,
Ye frown so dreadful, and ye swell so big,
Your fateful arms, the goose-quill, and the wig:
The wig, with wisdom's somb'rous seal impress'd,
Mysterious terrors, grim portents, invest;
And shame and honour on the goose-quill perch,
Like doves and ravens on a country church.
As some raw 'Squire, by rustic nymphs admired,
Of vulgar charms, and easy conquests tired,
Resolves new scenes and nobler flights to dare,
Nor "waste his sweetness in the desert air,"
To town repairs, some famed assembly seeks,
With red importance blust'ring in his cheeks;
But when, electric on th' astonish'd wight
Burst the full floods of music and of light,
While levell'd mirrors multiply the rows
Of radiant beauties, and accomplish'd beaus,
At once confounded into sober sense,
He feels his pristine insignificance:
And blinking, blund'ring, from the general _quiz_
Retreats, "to ponder on the thing he is."
By pride inflated, and by praise allured,
Small Authors thus strut forth, and thus get cured;
But, Critics, hear I an angel pleads for _me_,
That tongueless, ten-tongued cherub, _Modesty_.
Sirs! if you damn me, you'll resemble those
That flay'd the Traveller who had lost his clothes;
Are there not foes enough to _do_ my books?
Relentless trunk-makers and pastry-cooks?
Acknowledge not those barbarous allies,
The wooden box-men, and the men of pies:
For Heav'n's sake, let it ne'er be understood
That you, great Censors! coalesce with _wood;_
Nor let your actions contradict your looks,
That tell the world you ne'er colleague with _cooks._
But, if the blithe Muse will indulge a smile,
Why scowls thy brow, O Bookseller! the while?
Thy sunk eyes glisten through eclipsing fears,
Fill'd, like Cassandra's, with prophetic tears:
With such a visage, withering, woe-begone,
Shrinks the pale poet from the damning dun.
Come, let us teach each other's tears to flow,
Like fasting bards, in fellowship of woe,
When the coy Muse puts on coquettish airs,
Nor deigns one line to their voracious prayers!
Thy spirit, groaning like th' encumber'd block
Which bears my works, deplores them as _dead stock._
Doom'd by these undiscriminating times
To endless sleep, with Delia Cruscan rhymes;
Yes, Critics whisper thee, litigious wretches!
Oblivion's hand shall _finish_ all my _sketches._
But see, _my_ soul, such bug-bears has repell'd
With magnanimity unparallel'd!
Take up the volume, every care dismiss,
And smile, gruff Gorgon! while I tell thee this:
Not one shall lie neglected on the shelf,
All shall be sold--I'll buy them in myself!