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Critics! appalld I venture on the name,
Those cut-throat bandits in the paths of fame:
Bloody dissectors, worse than ten Monroes;
He hacks to teach, they mangle to expose.
His heart by causeless, wanton malice wrung,
By blockheads daring into madness stung;
His well-won bays, than life itself more dear,
By miscreants torn, who ne'er one sprig must wear.
Foil'd, bleeding, tortur'd in th unequal strife,
The hapless poet flounders on thro’ life,
Till fled each hope that once his bosom fir’d,
And fled each Muse that glorious once inspir'd,
Low sunk in squallid, unprotected age,
Dead, ev’n resentment for his injur'd page,
He heeds or feels no more the ruthless critic's rage
So, by some hedge, the gen’rous steed deceas’d,
For half-starv'd, snarling curs a dainty feast;
By toil and famine wore to skin and bone,
Lies senseless of each tuggin bitch's son.
0, Dulness! portion of the truly blest;
Calm, shelter'd haven of eternal rest!
Thy sons ne'er madden in the fierce extremes
Of Fortune's polar frost, or torrid beams
If mantling high she fills the golden cup
With sober, selfish ease they sip it up;
Conscious the bounteous meed they well deserve,
They only wonder “some folks” do not starve.
The grave sage hern thus easy picks his frog,
And thinks the mallard a sad, worthless dog,
When disappointment snaps the clue of hope,
And thro’ disastrous night they darkling grope,
With deaf endurance sluggishly they bear,
And just conclude that “fools are Fortune's care."
So, heavy, passive to the tempest's shocks,
Strong on the sign-post stands the stupid ox.
Not so the idle Muses' mad-cap train,
Not such the workings of their moon-struck brain ;
In equanimity they never dwell,
By turns in soaring heav'n or vaulted hell.
I dread thee, Fate, relentless and severe,
With all a poet's, husband's, father's fear!
Already one strong-hold of hope is lost,
GLENCAIRN, the truly noble, lies in dust;
(Fled, like the sun eclips'd as noon appears,
And left us darkling in a world of tears ;)
0! hear my ardent, grateful, selfish prayer!
FINTRA, my other stay, long bless and spare!
Thro' a long life his hopes and wishes crown;
And bright in cloudless skies his sun go down!
May bliss domestic smooth his private path;
Give energy to life, and soothe his latest breath,
With many a filial circling the bed of death
I CALL no goddess to inspire my strains,
A fabled Muse may suit a bard that feigns
Friend of my life! my ardent spirit burns,
And all the tribute of my heart returns,
For boons accorded, goodness ever new,
The gift still dearer, as the giver you.
Thou orb of day! thou other paler light! And all ye many sparkling stars of night; If aught that giver from my mind efface; If I that giver's bounty e'er disgrace ; Then roll to me, along your wand'ring spheres, Only to number out a villain's years !
WHOM THE AUTHOR HAD OFFENDED.
THE friend whom wild from wisdom's way
The fumes of wine infuriate send; (Nor moony madness more astray ;)
Who but deplores that hapless friend?
Mine was the insensate, frenzied part;
Ah! why should I such scenes outlive? Scenes so abhorrent to my heart!
'Tis thine to pity and forgive
WHO HAD SENT HIM A NEWSPAPER, AND OFFERED TO
CONTINUE IT FREE OF EXPENSE.
Kind sir, I've read your paper through,
And faith, to me, 'twas really new!
How guess'd ye, sir, what maist I wanted ?
This monie a day I've grain’d and gaunted,
To ken what French mischief was brewin;
Or what the drumblie Dutch were doin;
That vile doup-skeiper, Emperor Joseph,
If Venus yet had got his nose off;
Or how the collieshangie works
Atween the Russians and the Turks ;
Or if the Swede, before he halt,
Would play anither Charles the Twalt;
If Denmark, any body spak o't;
Or Poland, wha had now the tack o't;
How cut-throat Prussian blades were hingin,
How libbet Italy was singin;
If Spaniard, Portuguese, or Swiss,
Were sayin or takin aught amiss ;
Or how our merry lads at hame
In Britain's court kept up the game;
How royal George, the Lord leuk o'er him,
Was managing St. Stephen's quorum ;
If sleekit Chatham Will was livin,
Or glaikit Charlie got his nieve in;
How daddie Burke the plea was cookin,
If Warren Hastings' neck was yeukin;
How cesses, stents, and fees were rax’d,
Or if bare a-ses yet were tax'd;
The news o’ princes, dukes, and earls,
Pimps, sharpers, bawds, and opera-girls;
If that daft buckie, Geordie Wales,
Was threshing still at hissies' tails,
Or if he has grown oughtlins douser,
And no a perfect kintra cooser ;
A’ this and mair I never heard of,
An' but for you I might despair’d of:
So gratefu', back your news I send you,
And pray a' guid things may attend you.
TO MRS DUNLOP, ON A NEW YEAR'S DAY.
This day, Time winds the exhausted chain,
To run the twelvemonth's length again;
I see the auld bauld-pated fellow,
With ardent eyes, complexion sallow,
Ajust the unimpair’d machine,
To wheel the equal, dull routine.
The absent lover, minor heir,
In vain assail him with their prayer;
Deaf as my friend, he sees them press,
Nor makes the hour one moment less.
Will you (the Major's with the hounds,
The happy tenants share his rounds;
Coila's fair Rachel's care to-day,
And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray)