That pity only checks your growing spite To erring man, and prompts you still to write;

That your choice-works on humble stalls are laid,

Or vainly grace the windows of the trade;
Be ye my friends, if friendship e'er can warm
Those rival bosoms whom the Muses charm:
Think of the common cause, wherein we go,
Like gallant Greeks against the Trojan foe;
Nor let one peevish chief his leader blame,
Till, crown'd with conquest, we regain our

And let us join our forces to subdue
This bold assuming but successful crew.

I sing of NEws, and all those vapid sheets The rattling hawker vends through gaping streets;

Whate'er their name, whate'er the time they fly,

Damp from the press, to charm the reader's


For, soon as morning dawns with roseate hue,
The Herald of the morn arises too;
Post after Post succeeds, and, all day long,
Gazettes and Ledgers swarm, a noisy throng.
When evening comes, she comes with all
her train

Of Ledgers, Chronicles, and Posts again, Like bats, appearing, when the sun goes down,

From holes obscure and corners of the town. Of all these triflers, all like thesc, I write; Oh! like my subject could my song delight, The crowd at Lloyd's one poet's name should raise,

And all the Alley echo to his praise. In shoals the hours their constant numbers bring,

Like insects waking to th' advancing spring; Which take their rise from grubs obscene that lie

In shallow pools, or thence ascend the sky:
Such are these base ephemeras, so born
To die before the next revolving morn.
Yet thus they differ: insect-tribes are lost
In the first visit of a winter's frost;
While these remain, a base but constant


Whose swarming sons their short-lived sires succeed;

No changing season makes their number less,
Nor Sunday shines a Sabbath on the press!
Then lo! the sainted Monitor is born,
Whose pious face some sacred texts adorn:
As artful sinners cloak the secret sin,
To veil with seeming grace the guile within;
So Moral Essays on his front appear,
But all is carnal business in the rear;
The fresh-coin'd lie, the secret whisper'd last,
And all the gleanings of the six days past.
With these retired, through half the Sab-
The London-lounger yawns his hours away:

Not so, my little flock! your preacher fly, Nor waste the time no worldly wealth can buy; But let the decent maid and sober clown Pray for these idlers of the sinful town: This day, at least, on nobler themes bestow, Nor give to Woodfall, or the world below.

But, Sunday past, what numbers flourish then,

What wond'rous labours of the press and pen! Diurnal most, some thrice each week affords, Some only once;-O avarice of words! When thousand starving minds such manna seek,

To drop the precious food but once a week. Endless it were to sing the powers of all, Their names, their numbers; how they rise and fall:

Like baneful herbs the gazer's eye they seize, Rush to the head, and poison where they please:

Like idle flies, a busy, buzzing train, They drop their maggots in the trifler's brain:

That genial soil receives the fruitful store, And there they grow and breed a thousand


Now be their arts display'd, how first they choose

A cause and party, as the bard his muse; Inspired by these, with clamorous zeal they


And through the town their dreams and omens fly:

So the Sibylline leaves were blown about, Disjointed scraps of fate involved in doubt; So idle dreams, the journals of the night, Are right and wrong by turns, and mingle wrong with right.— Some champions for the rights that prop the crown,

Some sturdy patriots, sworn to pull them down;

Some neutral powers, with secret forces fraught,

Wishing for war, but willing to be bought: While some to every side and party go, Shift every friend, and join with every foe; Like sturdy rogues in privateers they strike This side and that, the foes of both alike; A traitor-crew, who thrive in troubled times, Fear'd for their force, and courted for their crimes.

Chief to the prosperous side the numbers sail,

Fickle and false, they veer with every gale; As birds that migrate from a freezing shore, In search of warmer climes, come skimming

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Nor here th' infectious rage for party stops,

But flits along from palaces to shops;
Our weekly journals o'er the land abound,
And spread their plagues and influenzas round;
The village, too, the peaceful, pleasant

Breeds the Whig-farmer and the Tory-swain;

Brookes' and St. Alban's boasts not, but, instead,


Stares the Red Ram, and swings the Rod-
ney's Head:-
Hither, with all a patriot's care, comes he
Who owns the little hut that makes him free;
Whose yearly forty shillings buy the smile
Of mightier men, and never waste the while;
Who feels his freehold's worth, and looks

A little prop and pillar of the state.
Here he delights the weekly news to con,
And mingle comments as he blunders on;
To swallow all their varying authors teach,
To spell a title and confound a speech:
Till with a muddled mind he quits the news,
And claims his nation's licence to abuse;
Then joins the cry: That all the courtly race
Are venal candidates for power and place;
Yet feels some joy, amid the general vice,
That his own vote will bring its wonted price,
These are the ills the teeming press supplies,
The pois'nous springs from learning's foun-
tain rise;
Not there the wise alone their entrance find,
Imparting useful light to mortals blind;
But, blind themselves, these erring guides
hold out

Alluring lights, to lead us far about; Screen'd by such means, here Scandal whets her quill,

Here Slander shoots unseen, whene'er she
Here Fraud and Falsehood labour to deceive,
And Folly aids them both, impatient to


Such, sons of Britain! are the guides ye trust;

So wise their counsel, their reports so just :-
Yet, though we cannot call their morals pure,
Their judgment nice, or their decisions sure;
Merit they have to mightier works unknown,
A style, a manner, and a fate their own.
We, who for longer fame with labour strive,
Are pain'd to keep our sickly works alive;
Studious we toil, with patient care refine,
Nor let our love protect one languid line.
Severe ourselves, at last our works appear,
When, ah! we find our readers more severe;
For after all our care and pains, how few
Acquire applause, or keep it if they do!-
Not so these sheets, ordain'd to happier fate,
Praised through their day, and but that day
their date;

Their careless authors only strive to join
As many words, as make an even line;
As many lines, as fill a row complete;
As many rows, as furnish up a sheet:
From side to side, with ready types they run,
The measure's ended, and the work is done;
Oh, born with ease, how envied and how blest!
Your fate to-day and your to-morrow's rest.
To you all readers turn, and they can look
Pleased on a paper, who abhor a book ;

Those, who ne'er deign'd their Bible to peruse,

Would think it hard to be denied their news; Sinners and saints, the wisest with the weak, Here mingle tastes and one amusement seek; This, like the public inn, provides a treat, Where each promiscuous guest sits down to eat;

And such this mental food, as we may call Something to all men and to some men all

Next, in what rare production shall we


Such various subjects in so small a space?
As the first ship upon the waters bore
Incongruous kinds who never met before;
Or as some curious virtuoso joins,
In one small room, moths, minerals, and coins,
Birds, beasts, and fishes; nor refuses place
To serpents, toads, and all the reptile race:
So here, compress'd within a single sheet,
Great things and small, the mean and
mighty meet:

'Tis this which makes all Europe's business
Yet here a private man may place his own;
And, where he reads of Lords and Com-
mons, he

May tell their honours that he sells rappee. Add next th' amusement which the motley page

Affords to either sex and every age:
Lo! where it comes before the cheerful fire.—
Damps from the press in smoky curls aspire
(As from the earth the sun exhales the dew),
Ere we can read the wonders that ensue:
Then eager every eye surveys the part,
That brings its favourite subject to the heart;
Grave politicians look for facts alone,
And gravely add conjectures of their own:
The sprightly nymph, who never broke her


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So charm the News; but we, who, far from town, Wait till the postman brings the packet down, Once in the week, a vacant day behold, And stay for tidings, till they're three days old:

That day arrives; no welcome post appears,
But the dull morn a sullen aspect wears;
We meet, but ah! without our wonted smile,
To talk of headaches, and complain of bile;
Sullen we ponder o'er a dull repast,
Nor feast the body while the mind must fast.

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A master-passion is the love of news,
Not music so commands, nor so the Muse:
Give poets claret, they grow idle soon;
Feed the musician, and he's out of tune;
But the sick mind, of this disease possest,
Flies from all cure and sickens when at rest.

Now sing, my Muse, what various parts


These rival sheets of politics and prose. First, from each brother's hoard a part they draw,

A mutual theft that never fear'd a law; Whate'er they gain, to each man's portion fall, And read it once, you read it through them all: For this their runners ramble day and night, To drag each lurking deed to open light; For daily bread the dirty trade they ply, Coin their fresh tales and live upon the lie: Like bees for honey, forth for news they spring,

Industrious creatures! ever on the wing; Home to their several cells they bear the store,

Cull'd of all kinds, then roam abroad for more.

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Should some fair frail-one drive her prancing pair,

Where rival peers contend to please the fair; When, with new force, she aids her conquering eyes,

And beauty decks with all that beauty buys; Quickly we learn whose heart her influence feels,

Whose acres melt before her glowing wheels. To these a thousand idle themes succeed, Deeds of all kinds and comments to each deed. Here stocks, the state-barometers, we view, That rise or fall, by causes known to few; Promotion's ladder who goes up or down; Who wed, or who seduced, amuse the town; What new-born heir has made his father blest;

What heir exults, his father now at rest; That ample list the Tyburn-herald gives, And each known knave, who still for Tyburn lives.

So grows the work, and now the printer tries His powers no more, but leans on his allies.

When lo! the advertising tribe succeed, Pay to be read, yet find but few will read;

And chief th' illustrious race, whose drops and pills

Have patent powers to vanquish human ills: These, with their cures, a constant aid remain,

To bless the pale composer's fertile brain; Fertile it is, but still the noblest soil Requires some pause, some intervals from toil;

And they at least a certain case obtain From Katterfelto's skill, and Graham's glowing strain.

I too must aid, and pay to see my name
Hung in these dirty avenues to fame;
Nor pay in vain, if aught the Muse has seen,
And sung, could make those avenues more

Could stop one slander ere it found its way,
And gave to public scorn its helpless prey.
By the same aid the Stage invites her friends,
And kindly tells the banquet she intends;
Thither from real life the many run,
With Siddons weep, or laugh with Abingdon;
Pleased in fictitious joy or grief, to see
The mimic passion with their own agree;
To steal a few enchanted hours away
From care, and drop the curtain on the day.
But who can steal from self that wretched

Whose darling work is tried, some fatal night?

Most wretched man! when, bane to every bliss,

He hears the serpent-critic's rising hiss; Then groans succeed: not traitors on the wheel

Can feel like him, or have such pangs to feel. Nor end they here: next day he reads his fall In every paper; crities are they all;

He sees his branded name, with wild affright, And hears again the cat-calls of the night.

Such help the STAGE affords: a larger space Is fill'd by PUFFS and all the puffing race. Physic had once alone the lofty style, The well-known boast, that ceased to raise a smile: Now all the province of that tribe invade, 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


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, batter'd beaux, whose locks are turn'd 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 must 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

Wish us to call them smart Friseurs from

That he who builds a chop-house, on his


Paints The true old original Blue Boar!
These are the arts by which a thousand live,
Where Truth may smile and Justice may

But when, amid this rabble-rout, we find
A puffing poet to his honour blind;
Who silly 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

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

For leave to throw their precious time away.

Oh! cruel WOODFALL! when a patriot

draws His gray-goose-quill in his dear country's


To vex and maul a ministerial race,
Can thy stern soul refuse the champion place?
Alas! thou knowst not with what anxious

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 | You take a name; Philander's odes are seen,

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 Patriæ 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

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


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 арасе,

Stanzas to Delia's dog or Celia's face:

Printed, and praised, in every magazine:
Diarian sages greet their brother sage,
And your dark pages please th' enlighten'd

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 you 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.

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