Tis sweet in boyhood's visionary mood,
When glowing Fancy, innocently gay,
Flings forth, like motes, her bright aërial brood,
To dance and shine in Hope's prolific ray;
'Tis sweet, unweeting how the flight of years
May darkling roll in trials and in tears,
To dress the future in what garb we list,
And shape the thousand joys that never may exist.
But he, sad wight! of all that feverish train,
Fool'd by those phantoms of the wizard brain,
Most wildly dotes, whom young ambition stings
To trust his weight upon poetic wings;
He, downward looking in his airy ride,
Beholds Elysium bloom on every side;
Unearthly bliss each thrilling nerve attunes,
And thus the dreamer with himself communes.
Yes! Earth shall witness, 'ere my star be set,
That partial nature mark'd me for her pet;
That Phoebus doom'd me, kind indulgent sire!
To mount his car, and set the world on fire.
Fame's steep ascent by easy flights to win,
With a neat pocket volume I'll begin;
And dirge, and sonnet, ode, and epigram,
Shall show mankind how versatile I am.
The buskin'd Muse shall next my pen descry:
The boxes from their inmost rows shall sigh;
The pit shall weep, the galleries deplore
Such moving woes as ne'er were heard before:
Enough--I'll leave them in their soft hysterics,
Mount, in a brighter blaze, and dazzle with Homerics.
Then, while my name runs ringing through Reviews,
And maids, wives, widows, smitten with my Muse,
Assail me with Platonic billet-doux.
From this suburban attic I'll dismount,
With Coutts or Barclays open an account;
Ranged in my mirror, cards, with burnish'd ends,
Shall show the whole nobility my friends;
That happy host with whom I choose to dine,
Shall make set-parties, give his-choicest wine;
And age and infancy shall gape to see
The lucky bard, and whisper "That is he!"
Poor youth! he print--and wakes, to sleep no more--
The world goes on, indifferent, as before;
And the first notice of his metric skill
Comes in the likeness of--his printer's bill;
To pen soft notes no fair enthusiast stirs,
Except his laundress--and who values her's?
None but herself: for though the bard may burn
Her note, she still expects one in return.
The luckless maiden, all unblest shall sigh;
His pocket tome hath drawn his pockets dry.
His tragedy expires in peals of laughter;
And that soul-thrilling wish--to live hereafter--
Gives way to one as hopeless quite, I fear,
And far more needful--how to live while here.
Where are ye now, divine illusions all;
Cheques, dinners, wines, admirers great and small!
Changed to two followers, terrible to see,
Who dog his walks, and whisper "That is he!"
Rhymesters attend! nor scorn & friendly hint,
Restrain your cacoëths fierce to print.
But hark, my printer's devil's at the door,
My leisure cannot yield one moment more:
Nor matters it, advice can ne'er restrain
Madman or poet from his bent:--'tis vain
To strive to point out colours to the blind,
Or set men seeking what they will not find.