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- The Village and The Newspaper - 6/6 -


And we abound in quacks of every trade. The simple barber, once an honest name, Cervantes founded, Fielding raised his fame: Barber no more--a gay perfumer comes, On whose soft cheek his own cosmetic blooms; Here he appears, each simple mind to move, And advertises beauty, grace, and love. "Come, faded belles, who would your youth renew, And learn the wonders of Olympian dew; Restore the roses that begin to faint, Nor think celestial washes vulgar paint; Your former features, airs, and arts assume, Circassian virtues, with Circassian bloom. Come, battered beaux, whose locks are turned to gray, And crop Discretion's lying badge away; Read where they vend these smart engaging things, These flaxen frontlets with elastic springs; No female eye the fair deception sees, Not Nature's self so natural as these." Such are their arts, but not confined to them, The muse impartial most her sons condemn: For they, degenerate! join the venal throng, And puff a lazy Pegasus along: More guilty these, by Nature less design'd For little arts that suit the vulgar kind. That barbers' boys, who would to trade advance, Wish us to call them smart Friseurs from France: That he who builds a chop-house, on his door Paints "The true old original Blue Boar!"- These are the arts by which a thousand live, Where Truth may smile, and Justice may forgive:- But when, amidst this rabble rout, we find A puffing poet to his honour blind; Who slily drops quotations all about Packet or post, and points their merit out; Who advertises what reviewers say, With sham editions every second day; Who dares not trust his praises out of sight, But hurries into fame with all his might; Although the verse some transient praise obtains, Contempt is all the anxious poet gains. Now Puffs exhausted, Advertisements past, Their Correspondents stand exposed at last; These are a numerous tribe, to fame unknown, Who for the public good forego their own; Who volunteers in paper-war engage, With double portion of their party's rage: Such are the Bruti, Decii, who appear Wooing the printer for admission here; Whose generous souls can condescend to pray For leave to throw their precious time away. Oh! cruel WOODFALL! when a patriot draws His gray-goose quill in his dear country's cause, To vex and maul a ministerial race, Can thy stern soul refuse the champion place? Alas! thou know'st not with what anxious heart He longs his best-loved labours to impart; How he has sent them to thy brethren round, And still the same unkind reception found: At length indignant will he damn the state, Turn to his trade, and leave us to our fate. These Roman souls, like Rome's great sons, are known To live in cells on labours of their own. Thus Milo, could we see the noble chief, Feeds, for his country's good, on legs of beef: Camillus copies deeds for sordid pay, Yet fights the public battles twice a-day: E'en now the godlike Brutus views his score Scroll'd on the bar-board, swinging with the door: Where, tippling punch, grave Cato's self you'll see, And Amor Patriae vending smuggled tea. Last in these ranks, and least, their art's disgrace, Neglected stand the Muses' meanest race; Scribblers who court contempt, whose verse the eye Disdainful views, and glances swiftly by: This Poet's Corner is the place they choose, A fatal nursery for an infant Muse; Unlike that Corner where true Poets lie, These cannot live, and they shall never die; Hapless the lad whose mind such dreams invade, And win to verse the talents due to trade. Curb then, O youth! these raptures as they rise, Keep down the evil spirit and be wise; Follow your calling, think the Muses foes, Nor lean upon the pestle and compose. I know your day-dreams, and I know the snare Hid in your flow'ry path, and cry "Beware!" Thoughtless of ill, and to the future blind, A sudden couplet rushes on your mind; Here you may nameless print your idle rhymes, And read your first-born work a thousand times; Th'infection spreads, your couplet grows apace, Stanzas to Delia's dog or Celia's face: You take a name; Philander's odes are seen, Printed, and praised, in every magazine: Diarian sages greet their brother sage, And your dark pages please th' enlightened age.- Alas! what years you thus consume in vain, Ruled by this wretched bias of the brain! Go! to your desks and counters all return; Your sonnets scatter, your acrostics burn; Trade, and be rich; or, should your careful sires Bequeath your wealth, indulge the nobler fires; Should love of fame your youthful heart betray, Pursue fair fame, but in a glorious way, Nor in the idle scenes of Fancy's painting stray. Of all the good that mortal men pursue, The Muse has least to give, and gives to few; Like some coquettish fair, she leads us on, With smiles and hopes, till youth and peace are gone. Then, wed for life, the restless wrangling pair Forget how constant one, and one how fair: Meanwhile Ambition, like a blooming bride, Brings power and wealth to grace her lover's side; And though she smiles not with such flattering charms, The brave will sooner win her to their arms. Then wed to her, if Virtue tie the bands, Go spread your country's fame in hostile lands; Her court, her senate, or her arms adorn, And let her foes lament that you were born: Or weigh her laws, their ancient rights defend, Though hosts oppose, be theirs and Reason's friend; Arm'd with strong powers, in their defence engage, And rise the THURLOW of the future age.

Footnotes:

{1} Lord Robert Manners, killed in battle April 1782.


The Village and The Newspaper - 6/6

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