1 Ye Lords and Commons, men of wit
And pleasure about town,
Read this, ere you translate one bit
Of books of high renown.
2 Beware of Latin authors all!
Nor think your verses sterling,
Though with a golden pen you scrawl,
And scribble in a berlin:
3 For not the desk with silver nails,
Nor bureau of expense,
Nor standish well japann'd, avails
To writing of good sense.
4 Hear how a ghost in dead of night,
With saucer eyes of fire,
In woeful wise did sore affright
A wit and courtly squire.
5 Rare imp of Phoebus, hopeful youth!
Like puppy tame that uses
To fetch and carry, in his mouth,
The works of all the Muses.
6 Ah! why did he write poetry,
That hereto was so civil;
And sell his soul for vanity
To rhyming and the devil?
7 A desk he had of curious work,
With glittering studs about;
Within the same did Sandys lurk,
Though Ovid lay without.
8 Now, as he scratch'd to fetch up thought,
Forth popp'd the sprite so thin,
And from the keyhole bolted out,
All upright as a pin.
9 With whiskers, band, and pantaloon,
And ruff composed most duly,
This squire he dropp'd his pen full soon,
While as the light burnt bluely.
10 'Ho! Master Sam,' quoth Sandys' sprite,
'Write on, nor let me scare ye!
Forsooth, if rhymes fall not in right,
To Budgell seek, or Carey.
11 'I hear the beat of Jacob's drums,
Poor Ovid finds no quarter!
See first the merry P---- comes
In haste without his garter.
12 'Then lords and lordlings, squires and knights,
Wits, witlings, prigs, and peers:
Garth at St James's, and at White's
Beats up for volunteers.
13 'What Fenton will not do, nor Gay,
Nor Congreve, Rowe, nor Stanyan,
Tom Burnet, or Tom D'Urfey may,
John Dunton, Steele, or any one.
14 'If Justice Philips' costive head
Some frigid rhymes disburses:
They shall like Persian tales be read,
And glad both babes and nurses.
15 'Let Warwick's Muse with Ashurst join,
And Ozell's with Lord Hervey's,
Tickell and Addison combine,
And Pope translate with Jervas.
16 'L---- himself, that lively lord,
Who bows to every lady,
Shall join with F---- in one accord,
And be like Tate and Brady.
17 'Ye ladies, too, draw forth your pen;
I pray, where can the hurt lie?
Since you have brains as well as men,
As witness Lady Wortley.
18 'Now, Tonson, list thy forces all,
Review them, and tell noses:
For to poor Ovid shall befall
A strange metamorphosis;
19 'A metamorphosis more strange
Than all his books can vapour'--
'To what (quoth squire) shall Ovid change?'
Quoth Sandys, 'To waste paper.'