James Maxwell




Printed by J. Neilson, and Sold by the Author.



‘Twas thought of late but few years past,
The Poets all had sung their last,
Especially on British ground:
Or that the Muses were asleep,
And would perpetual silence keep.
Nor once more chirp another found.
Yet two or three here still remain’d,
Who yet the sacred fire retain’d,
But they so few were little heard:
At last there sprang a spurious band,
Who made a noise through all the land,
To whom great numbers paid regard.
But when it was examin’d well,
The foremost was inspir’d by hell,
To captivate the human race:
So when th’infernal cheat was found,
The wise disdain’d the hellish sound,
And doom’d them to their native place.
Yet though by all wise men despis’d,
Still profligates such jargon priz’d,
And cheerfully the same embrac’d:
But sober men were so asham’d
That they had been subscribers nam’d,
All poetry was thus disgrac’d.
But this is no uncommon case,
That innocence should get disgrace,
Through others faults though not her own:
When counters in the land are rife,
They cause so much debate and strife,
The current coin is hardly known.
Thus real poets suffer shame,
And very often bear the blame,
When poetasters base appear:
These sowre the serious sober mind,
And make the wisest of mankind,
Of Poets and their works beware.

On L-----------------‘s Poems. Another A-----?-----c Bard

A—SH—E is sure become a fruitful field,
It doth such store of noble Poets yield.
Lo, here’s another started up of late,
That on Parnassus sure hath had his feat:
He seems with Poetry so deeply fraught,
He sure hath been by great Apollo taught.
If of Castalia’s Well large draughts he’s ta’en,
He sure hath lost it ere ho came again.
His budget sure from off his back hath gone,
For grammar, rhime, or reason he hath none.
His brother B__ does him by far excel,
And is a bolder advocate for hell.
A double dialect they both have us’d,
Which by them both is wretchedly abus’d.
B__ he set up an advocate for hell,
And to get money hath succeeded well.
L_____ seems not to steer for either port,
For heaven or hell; but of them both falls short:
But sure at one of these he’ll land at last,
Unless in purgatory he stick fast.
His vessel seems so poorly fitted out,
How she will fail is almost past a doubt.
If she comes loaded home with mighty store,
As did his brother B__, that sail’d before,
’Twill be a wonder! Yea, it will be more____
The former won upon mankind for once,
The latter stands a wretched, nasty chance.
For B—hath sour’d the taste of all mankind,
None else may hope e’er such success to find.
Tho’ he succeeded more than e’er was known,
The next may beat the bush, the birds are flown,
Tho’ he got thousands with a free consent,
Yet nothing did they ever more repent.
For some devoted theirs unto the flame;
Bumfodder also others made of them.
Some turn’d to dung, and others they were burn’d,
And so to dirt and ashes all were turn’d.
‘Twas not by merit he obtain’d his prize,
But by a false report of flatt’ring lies.
Let none write poetry but poets born,
Or sure they must expose themselves to scorn.
Let all mind what Dean Swift had once to say,
Who was a real Poet in his day.

“ Tho’ this our barren clime scarce bears
A sprig of bays in fifty years;
Yet ev’ry fool his claim alledges,
As if they grew in common hedges.”

To L-----------‘s Subscribers.

If for a prize you’ve got a blank,
You well may know whom you should thank.
Your fav’rite B------ you took to be
A dext’rous judge of poetry.
His M—k Poet he befriended,
And much his genius he commended.
You thought what he could recommend,
Would sure be most sublimely penn’d.
L—you took upon his word,
In hopes he would good sense afford.
Now you have got him, you may know
Whether he yields good sense or no.
If you’re a strumpet or a rake,
You sure have found a sad mistake.
If you’re a saint you find the same,
And well may know whom you should blame.
If merry, you find nothing there,
To make you either laugh or stare.
If serious you can nothing find,
To satisfy your thinking mind.
Well, since you all have lost your aim,
I’ll tell you what to do with them:
When balmy sleep forsakes your eyes,
And like coy virgin from you flies;
Read then L—but for an hour,
Sleep will resume its drowsy pow’r.
‘Twill save a dose of Laudanum,
And make you slumber deaf and dumb.
But if you need them not for sleep,
Yet lay them by and and safely keep.
Until you needs must physic take,
Then you good use of them may make—
Or if you need them not to wipe,
They’ll handy be to light your pipe.
And if you should begrudge the cost,
Be thankful all is not quite lost:
And thankful be to R—B--,
For serving you such friendly turns:
For had L—ne’er seen that sight,
His nonsense ne’er had come to light.
And had not B— the same commended,
No purchasers had e’er intended.
So now for all your fun and sport,
To B—you may be thankful for’t.

An Epitaph on L—Poems. By another Hand.

Here lie the Poems of L--,
Which neither pleas’d the saint nor rake.
Which neither made us laugh nor weep;
But strange – they lull’d us fast asleep!
Dulness appear’d in every line,
Who then shall call the Bard divine?
Who e’er shall deck his brow with bays,
Or tell posterity his praise?
In dark oblivion’s blackest cave,
His stupid rhimes have found a grave:
Nor e’er shall from their cavern rise,
To snatch Fame’s bright and envied prize.
Ye Poets then all warning take,
From the sad fate of poor L--,


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