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CXCVII. « I have no more to say, but linger still, « And dare not set my
upon « And yet I may as well the task fulfil,
My misery can scarce be more complete : « I had not lived till
could « Death shuns the wretch who fain the blow would meet, « And I must even survive this last adieu, « And bear with life, to love and pray
With a neat little crow-quill, slight and new ;
she did not let one lear escape
I shall proceed with his adventures is
We'll sce, however, what they say to this,
And no great mischief's done by their caprice;
Divided in twelve books; each book containing,
A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning,
New characters; the episodes are three :
A panorama view of hell's in training, After the style of Virgil and of Homer, So that my name of Epic's no misnomer.
All these things will be specified in time,
With strict regard to Aristotle's rules, The vade mecum of the true sublime,
Which makes so many poets, and some fools; Prose poets like blank-verse, I'ın fond of rhyme,
Good workmen nerer quarrel with their tools ;
Me and my epic brethren gone before,
( Not that I have not several merits more, But this will more peculiarly be seen)
They so embellish, that 'tis quite a bore Their labyrinth of fables to thread through, Whereas this story's actually true.
CCIII. If any person doubt it, I appeal
To history, tradition, and to facts, To newspapers, whose truth all know and feel,
To plays in five, and operas in three acts ; All these confirm my statement a good deal,
But that which more completely faith exacts Is, that myself, and several now in Seville, Saw Juan's last elopement with the devil.
I'll write poetical commandments, which
That went before ; in these I shall enrich My text with many things that no one knows,
And carry precept to the highest pitch:
Thou shalt not set up Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Because the first is crazed beyond all hope,
The second drunk, the third so quaint and mouthey : With Craibe it may be difficult to cope,
And Campbell's Hippocrene is somewhat drouthy :
His Pegasus, nor any thug that's bis ;
( There's one, at least, is very fond of this ; ) Thou shalt not write, in short, but what I choose :
This is true criticisin, and you may kiss-
presume to assert This story is not moral,
pray, That they will not cry out before they're hurt,
Then that they'll read it o'er again, and say,
( But, doubtless, nobody will be so pert )
That this is not a moral tale, though gay;
If, after all, there should be some so blind
To their own good this warning to despise, Led by some tortuosity of mind,
Not to believe my verse and their own eyes, And cry that they « the moral cannot find, »
I tell liim, if a clergyman, he lies ; Should captains the remark or critics make, They also lie too-under a mistake.
. The public approbation I expect,
And beg they'll take my word about the moral, Which I with their amusement will connect,
(So children cutting teeth receive a coral); Meantime, they'll doubtless please to recollect
My epical pretensions to the laurel : For fear some prudish readers should grow skittish, I've bribed my grandmother's review—the British.
I sent it in a letter to the editor,
Who thank'd me duly by return of I'm for a handsome article his creditor ;
Yet if my gentle Muse he please to roast,
Denying the receipt of what it cost,
I may ensure the public, and defy
Daily, or monthly, or three monthly; I Have not essay'd to multiply their clients,
Because they tell me 'twere in vain to try, And that the Edinburgh Review and Quarterly Treat a dissenting author very martyrly.
CCXII. « Non ego hoc ferrem calida juventd
« Consule Planco, » Horace said, and so Say I ; by which quotation there is meant a
Hipt that some six or seven good years ago (Long ere I dreamt of dating from the Brenta)
I was most ready to return a blow, And would not brook at all this sort of thing In my hot youth-when George the Third was King.
CCXIII. But now at thirty years my
gray(I wonder what it will be like at forty ? I thought of a peruke the other day)
My heart is not much greener; and, in short, I Have squander'd my whole suinmer while 'twas May,
And feel no more the spirit to retort; I Ilave spent my life, both interest and principal, - And deem not, what I deem'd, my soul invincible.
The freshness of the heart can fall like dew,
Extracts emotions beautiful and new,