Patron of all those luckless brains,
That, to the wrong side leaning,
Indite much metre with much pains,
And little or no meaning;
Ah why, since oceans, rivers, streams,
That water all the nations,
Pay tribute to thy glorious beams,
In constant exhalations;
Why, stooping from the noon of day,
Too covetous of drink,
Apollo, hast thou stolen away
A poet’s drop of ink?
Upborne into the viewless air,
It floats a vapour now,
Impell’d through regions dense and rare,
By all the winds that blow.
Ordain’d perhaps, ere summer flies,
Combined with millions more,
To form an iris in the skies,
Though black and foul before.
Illustrious drop! and happy then
Beyond the happiest lot,
Of all that ever pass’d my pen,
So soon to be forgot!
Phœbus, if such be thy design,
To place it in thy bow,
Give wit, that what is left may shine
With equal grace below.