Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, POVERTY AND POETRY, by WILLIAM BROOME



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POVERTY AND POETRY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Twas sung of old how one amphion
Last Line: And starv'd, the glorious vagrant begs.
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets


'TWAS sung of old how one Amphion,
Could by his verses tame a lion;
And by his strange enchanting tunes,
Make bears and wolves dance rigadoons:
His songs could call the timber down,
And form it into house or town;
But it is plain that in these times
No house is rais'd by poet's rhymes;
They for themselves can only rear
A few wild castles in the air;
Poor are the brethren of the bays,
Down from high strains to ekes and ayes.
The Muses too are virgins yet,
And may be -- till they portions get.

Yet still the doating rhymer dreams,
And sings of Helicon's bright streams,
But Helicon, for all his clatter,
Yields only uninspiring water;
Yet even athirst he sweetly sings
Of Nectar, and Elysian springs.

What dire malignant planet sheds,
Ye bards, his influence on your heads?
Lawyers, by endless controversies,
Consume unthinking clients' purses,
As Pharaoh's kine, which strange and odd is,
Eat up the plump and fat ones' bodies.

The grave physician, who by physic,
Like Death, dispatches him that is sick,
Pursues a sure and thriving trade,
Tho' patients die, the doctor's paid;
Licens'd to kill, he gains a palace,
For what another mounts the gallows.

In shady groves the Muses stray,
And love in flow'ry meads to play;
An idle crew! whose only trade is
To shine in trifles, like our ladies;
In dressing, dancing, toying, singing,
While wiser Pallas thrives by spinning;
Thus they get nothing to bequeath
Their vot'ries, but a laurel wreath.

But love rewards the bard! the fair
Attend his song, and ease his care:
Alas! fond youth, your plea you urge ill
Without a jointure, though a Virgil;
Could you like Phoebus sing, in vain
Like Phoebus you attune the strain,
Coy Daphne flies, and you will find as
Hard hearts as hers in your Belindas.

But then some say you purchase fame,
And gain that envied prize, a name;
Great recompense! like his who sells
A diamond for beads and bells;
Will fame be thought sufficient bail
To keep the poet from the gaol?
Thus the brave soldier in the wars,
Gets empty praise, and aching scars;
Is paid with fame and wooden legs,
And starv'd, the glorious vagrant begs.





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