’Tis hard to say they steal them now-a-days;
For sure the ancients never wrote such plays.
These scribbling insects have what they deserve,
Not plenty, nor the glory for to starve.
That Spenser knew, that Tasso felt before;
And death found surly Ben exceeding poor.
Heaven turn the omen from their image here!
May he with joy the well-placed laurel wear!
Great Virgil’s happier fortune may he find,
And be our Caesar, like Augustus, kind! 20
But let not this disturb thy tuneful head;
Thou writ’st for thy delight, and not for bread;
Thou art not cursed to write thy verse with care;
But art above what other poets fear.
What may we not expect from such a hand,
That has, with books, himself at free command?
Thou know’st in youth, what age has sought in vain;
And bring’st forth sons without a mother’s pain.
So easy is thy sense, thy verse so sweet,
Thy words so proper, and thy phrase so fit, 30
We read, and read again; and still admire
Whence came this youth, and whence this wondrous fire!
Pardon this rapture, sir! but who can be
Cold, and unmoved, yet have his thoughts on thee?
Thy goodness may my several faults forgive,
And by your help these wretched lines may live.
But if, when view’d by your severer sight,
They seem unworthy to behold the light,
Let them with speed in deserv’d flames be thrown!
They’ll send no sighs, nor murmur out a groan; 40
But, dying silently, your justice own.
 ‘Lucretius’: this piece is not
contained in Anderson, or the edition
1 Stay, Phoebus! stay;
The world to which you fly so fast,
From us to them, can pay your haste
With no such object, nor salute your rise,
With no such wonder as De Mornay’s eyes.
2 Well does this prove
The error of those antique books,
Which made you move
About the world; her charming looks
Would fix your beams, and make it ever day,
Did not the rolling earth snatch her away.
PEACE, BABBLING MUSE!
1 Peace, babbling Muse!
I dare not sing what you indite;
Her eyes refuse
To read the passion which they write.
She strikes my lute, but, if it sound,
Threatens to hurl it on the ground;
And I no less her anger dread,
Than the poor wretch that feigns him dead,
While some fierce lion does embrace
His breathless corpse, and lick his face;
Wrapp’d up in silent fear he lies,
Torn all in pieces if he cries.