Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A CURE FOR POETRY, by ANNABELLA (GUISE) BLOUNT

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A CURE FOR POETRY, by                    
First Line: I sought instruction from my dawning years
Last Line: Improved my judgement, and reformed my heart.
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets

I SOUGHT instruction from my dawning years,
My father to my playfellows preferred;
Whate'er he spoke with deep attention heard:
He laid those grounds that nothing can remove,
Care of my honour, and my country's love.
Whate'er he taught I eagerly would learn;
And, while to please him was my whole concern,
His chase I followed o'er his spacious down,
Joyed with his grace, and trembling at his frown.
Early I tasted the Castalian spring;
My almost infant muse had tried her wing:
A father fondly looked on all I writ;
Winkle himself had voted me a wit:
Old Guiret, charmed with all that I had done,
Declared my verses tasted of the sun.
Already fired with sacred love of praise,
I longed for fame, and hungered after bays.
Cypress I scorned; the Muses were my care;
And Phoebus heard my late and early prayer:
He heard indeed and, standing by my bed,
Assumed my brother's friendly form, and said:
'Why wilt thou, Nan, so ill employ thy wit
In manly works, for ladies' hands unfit?
Of all thy sex that sought the poet's fame,
Is there one character thou dost not blame?
And wilt thou vainly misemploy thy days
In what ne'er was the virtuous woman's praise?
Turn thou thy sense to housewife's wiser cares,
Mind well thy needlework, and say thy prayers:
Secure, in this advice that I have given,
Of peace on earth, and endless peace in heaven.'
He said, and vanished in a flash of light;
My opened mind began to judge aright;
Muse, rhymes and verse in mixed confusion fled,
I burned the trifling products of my head.
Where poets stood before, receipt-books stand,
Silk, thread and worsted are my next demand,
And chairs and stools increase beneath my labouring hand.
Yet would I learn what ancient bards have taught,
But wisdom now, not wit, in Horace sought.
Apollo, pleased I thus obeyed his voice,
(Himself my Cupid) made my marriage choice.
No vulgar genius did his care commend,
He gave me Blount, his favourite and his friend;
To draw whose character exceeds my art,
I bear it deep engraven in my heart;
Yet this one print drawn out, I'll dare to say
Phoebus himself can scarce the whole display.
Though the least blot his piercing wit could know,
He would not sharply censure ev'n his foe;
Yet what was bad he never would commend,
But silent hide the errors of his friend.
His fair example, and endearing art,
Improved my judgement, and reformed my heart.

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