Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE POETASTER, by JOHN BYROM

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE POETASTER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When a poet, as poetry goes now-a-days
Last Line: The man, after all, is but just where he was.
Subject(s): Art & Artists; Books; Pens & Pencils; Poetry & Poets; Writing & Writers; Reading

WHEN a poet, as poetry goes now-a-days,
Takes it into his head to put in for the bays,
With an old book of rhymes, and a half pint of claret,
To cherish his brain, mounted up to his garret,
Down he sits, with his pen, ink, and paper before him,
And labours as hard—as his mother that bore him.

Thus plac'd, on the candle he fixes his eyes,
And upon its bright flame he looks wonderful wise;
Then snuffing it close, he takes hold of his pen,
And, the subject not starting, he snuffs it again;
Till perceiving at last that not one single thought,
For all his wise looks, will come forth as it ought,
With a bumper of wine he emboldens his blood,
And prepares to receive it, whenever it should.

Videlicet, first, he invokes the nine muses,
Or some one of their tribe for his patroness chooses;
The girl, to be sure, that, of all the long Nomine,
Best suits with his rhyme—as for instance, Melpomene.
"And what signifies then this old bard-beaten whim?
"What's he to the muses, or th' muses to him?"
Why, the bus'ness is this—the poor man, lack-a-day!
At first setting out, don't know well what to say.

Then he thinks of Parnassus, and Helicon streams,
And of old musty bards mumbles over the names;
Talks much to himself of one Phœbus Apollo,
And a parcel of folks that in's retinue follow;
Of a horse nam'd Pegasus, that had two wings,
Of mountains, and nymphs, and a hundred fine things;
Tho' with mountains, and streams, and his nymphs of Parnass:
The man, after all, is but just where he was.

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