THE POET'S APOLOGY FOR RHYMING

I As a Wit yet ne'er appear'd
Upon the stage of time;
From bus'nes I am now debarr'd-
Tis now my 'ploy to rhyme.

No satire keen shall make me rage,
Ev'n though my fate were worse;
My head's grown empty by old age,
But not so toom's my purse.

My means and credit, fickle things!
They both are fled and gone!
And I my weary days maun pass,
Unheeded and unknown!

My wit and humour are despis'd,
Since e'er I could not pay;
And never more they shall be priz'd;
They're forced to hop away.

A few good-natur'd, friendly men,
My hopes shall yet sustain;
Though my old friends are fled and gone,
Yet I shall not complain.

They'll cause my worthless Book to sell,
Those friends whom I address;
May it please all that on it look,
And sale have good success.

On such alone, my smile or frown
Entirely must depend:
I've fought strong battles with small means,
Yet must yield in the end.

I'm blam'd by some, by some excus'd;
Each one gives me their lift:
I'll try to please ev'n men unknown,
Since Fate sends me adrift!

Vain is my plea! I need not try
To speak in my defence!
Though I'm borne down with prejudice,
Heav'n knows my innocence!

I'm now content--I'm free from care!
Let Fortune wag for me!
I shall not fret nor yet despair---
In peace I hope to die!

With thankfulness, I still shall strive
To make all matters meet:
I'll toil for bread as long's I can,
Take sour when we can't get sweet.

And when my pocket can it spare
(Although 'tis ill my part)
I'll take a glass myself to chear,
And raise my drooping heart!

With some true friends of gen'rous mind,
I'll fit and chat a while;
Whatever subject they may start,
I'll join quite free of guile.

If it wont please to speak the truth,
I then shall hold my tongue:
For flatt'ring lips I hate as Hell;
I'll rather sing my song.

I ne'er could walk with steady air,
But swing whiles up whiles down;
Where Fortune leads, I'll follow close,
Ne'er mind her smile or frown.

I ne'er shall court where I dread speed;
My wants I'll rather hide:
If simple truth will not succeed,
I by myself shall 'bide.

No glitt'ring gold that e'er was coin'd,
Nor heart tormenting woe,
Shall ever change my friendly mind,
Or make me fear a foe.

My outs and ins, and ups and downs,
Oft wrong, yet sometimes right:
I hate each rancour that breaks peace;
Let each one take his weight.

Whatever turn the matter takes,
To me is all the same;
I'll still go on and fight my way,
And try my loss to gain.

I for a feast will never fawn,
Nor pour out my complaint:
If welcome's hand is now withdrawn,
I'll stay at home content.

I'll make my pottage, boil my kail,
Remote and little known:
With ink I'll black the other sheet,
Regardless of man's frown.

I'm not dispos'd to hate mankind,
Though I their state lament;
Yet like them best that best like me,
Whate'er be the event.

I'm not so vain as to pretend
To teach men to behave;
Yet still am of a nobler mind,
Than ever be their slave.

I love a friend that's frank and free,
Who tells me to his mind:
I hate to hing upon a bank
With bums and bas confin'd.

Friendship's a true and trusty tie;
But if we break the links,
The whole of secrets out must flie,
Each speaks o't as he thinks.

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