The Successful Author.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

When Fate presents us with the Bays,
We prize the Praiser, not the Praise.
We scarcely think our Fame eternal
If vouched for by the Farthing Journal;
But when the Craftsman's self has spoken,
We take it for a certain Token.
This an Example best will show,
Derived from DENNIS DIDEROT.

A hackney Author, who'd essayed
All Hazards of the scribbling Trade;
And failed to live by every Mode,
From Persian Tale to Birthday Ode;
Embarked at last, thro' pure Starvation,
In Theologic Speculation.
'Tis commonly affirmed his Pen
Had been most orthodox till then;
But oft, as SOCRATES has said,
The Stomach's stronger than the Head;
And, for a sudden Change of Creed,
There is no Jesuit like Need.
Then, too, 'twas cheap; he took it all,
By force of Habit, from the Gaul.
He showed (the Trick is nowise new)
That Nothing we believe is true;
But chiefly that Mistake is rife
Touching the point of After-Life;
Here all were wrong from PLATO down:
His Price (in Boards) was Half-a-Crown.
The Thing created quite a Scare:--
He got a Letter from VOLTAIRE,
Naming him Ami and Confrère;
Besides two most attractive Offers
Of Chaplaincies from noted Scoffers.
He fell forthwith his Head to lift,
To talk of "I and DR. SW--FT;"
And brag, at Clubs, as one who spoke,
On equal Terms, with BOLINGBROKE.
But, at the last, a Missive came
That put the Copestone to his Fame.
The Boy who brought it would not wait:
It bore a Covent-Garden Date;--
A woful Sheet with doubtful Ink.
And Air of Bridewell or the Clink,
It ran in this wise:--Learned Sir!
We, whose Subscriptions follow here,
Desire to state our Fellow-feeling
In this Religion you're revealing.
You make it plain that if so be
We 'scape on Earth from Tyburn Tree,
There's nothing left for us to fear
In this--or any other Sphere.
We offer you our Thanks; and hope
Your Honor, too, may cheat the Rope!
With that came all the Names beneath,
As BLUESKIN, JERRY CLINCH, MACHEATH,
BET CARELESS, and the Rest--a Score
Of Rogues and Bona Robas more.

This Newgate Calendar he read:
'Tis not recorded what he said.

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