Twopenny Post-Bag, Intercepted Letters, Etc. Letter VII.

A poem by Thomas Moore


Per Post, Sir, we send your MS.--look it thro'--
Very sorry--but can't undertake--'twouldn't do.
Clever work, Sir!--would get up prodigiously well--
Its only defect is--it never would sell.
And tho' Statesmen may glory in being unbought,
In an Author 'tis not so desirable thought.

Hard times, Sir, most books are too dear to be read--
Tho' the gold of Good-sense and Wit's small-change are fled,
Yet the paper we Publishers pass, in their stead,
Rises higher each day, and ('tis frightful to think it)
Not even such names as Fitzgerald's can sink it!

However, Sir--if you're for trying again,
And at somewhat that's vendible--we are your men.

Since the Chevalier Carr[1] took to marrying lately,
The Trade is in want of a Traveller greatly--
No job, Sir, more easy--your Country once planned,
A month aboard ship and a fortnight on land
Puts your Quarto of Travels, Sir, clean out of hand.

An East-India pamphlet's a thing that would tell--
And a lick at the Papists is sure to sell well.
Or--supposing you've nothing original in you--
Write Parodies, Sir, and such fame it will win you,
You'll get to the Blue-stocking Routs of Albinia![2]
(Mind--not to her dinners--a second-hand Muse
Mustn't think of aspiring to mess with the Blues.)
Or--in case nothing else in this world you can do--
The deuce is in't, Sir, if you can not review!

Should you feel any touch of poetical glow,
We've a Scheme to suggest--Mr. Scott, you must know,
(Who, we're sorry to say it, now works for the Row.[3])
Having quitted the Borders to seek new renown,
Is coming by long Quarto stages to Town;
And beginning with "Rokeby" (the job's sure to pay)
Means to do all the Gentlemen's Seats on the way.
Now, the Scheme is (tho' none of our hackneys can beat him)
To start a fresh Poet thro' Highgate to meet him;
Who by means of quick proofs--no revises--long coaches--
May do a few Villas before Scott approaches.
Indeed if our Pegasus be not curst shabby,
He'll reach, without foundering, at least Woburn Abbey.
Such, Sir, is our plan--if you're up to the freak,
'Tis a match! and we'll put you in training next week.
At present, no more--in reply to this Letter,
A line will oblige very much
Yours, et cetera.

Temple of the Muses.

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