Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A LETTER TO R. L. ESQ, by JOHN BYROM



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A LETTER TO R. L. ESQ, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Dear peter, if thou canst descend
Last Line: Can cure him of that fiddling phrenzy.
Subject(s): Letters; Messages & Messengers; Muses; News


DEAR Peter, if thou canst descend
From RODELIND to hear a friend,
And if those ravish'd ears of thine
Can quit the shrill celestial whine
Of gentle eunuchs, and sustain
Thy native Enlish without pain,
I would, if't en't too great a burden,
Thy ravish'd ears intrude a word in.

To Richard's and to Tom's full oft
Have I stept forth, O 'squire of Toft,
In hopes that I might win, perchance,
A sight of thy sweet countenance;
Forth have I stept, but still alas!
Richard's or Tom's,—'twas all a case;
Still met I with the same reply—
"Saw you sir Peter?"—"No, not I."

Being at length no longer able
To bear the dismal trissyllable,
Home I retir'd in saunt'ring wise,
And inward turning all my eyes,
To seek thee in the friendly breast,
Where thou hast made a kind of nest,
The gentle muse I'gan invoke,
And thus the neck of silence broke:

"Muse!" quoth I, treading on her toes,
"Thou sweet companion of my woes,
That whilom wont to ease my care,
And get me now and then—a hare—
Why am I thus depriv'd the sight
Both of the alderman and knight?
Tell me, O tell me, gentle muse,
Where is Sir Peter, where is Clowes?"

"Where your friend Joseph is or goes,"
Reply'd Melpomene, "Lord knows;
And what place is the fairest bidder
For the knight's presence—let's consider—
Your wandering steps you must refer to
Rehearsal, op'ra, or concerto;
At one or other of the three
You'll find him most undoubtedly."

Now, Peter, if the muse says true,
To all my hopes I bid adieu;
Adieu my hopes, if op'ramany
Has seiz'd on Peter's pericranie.
Drunk with Italian Syren's cup!
Nay then, in troth, I give him up:
The man's a quack, whoe'er pretends he
Can cure him of that fiddling phrenzy.





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