Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EPISTLE TO PRINCE WILLIAM HENRY, by GEORGE CRABBE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

EPISTLE TO PRINCE WILLIAM HENRY, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Who thus aspiring sings? Would'st thou explore
Last Line: Scorn to complain, and with one sigh expire!

WHO thus aspiring sings? would'st thou explore;
A Bard replies, who ne'er assumed before, --
One taught in hard affliction's school to bear
Life's ills, where every lesson costs a tear,
Who sees from thence, the proper point of view,
What the wise heed not, and the weak pursue.

And now farewell, the drooping Muse exclaims.
She lothly leaves thee to the shock of war,
And, fondly dwelling on her princely tar,
Wishes the noblest good her Harry's share,
Without her misery and without her care.
For, ah! unknown to thee, a rueful train,
Her hapless children, sigh, and sigh in vain;
A numerous band, denied the boon to die,
Half-starved, half-fed by fits of charity.
Unknown to thee! and yet, perhaps, thy ear
Has chanced each sad, amusing tale to hear,
How some, like Budgell, madly sank for ease;
How some, like Savage, sicken'd by degrees;
How a pale crew, like helpless Otway, shed
The proud big tear on song-extorted bread;
Or knew, like Goldsmith, some would stoop to choose
Contempt, and for the mortar quit the Muse.
One of this train -- and of these wretches one --
Slaves to the Muses, and to Misery son --
Now prays the Father of all Fates to shed,
On Henry, laurels; on his poet, bread!
Unhappy art! decreed thine owner's curse;
Vile diagnostic of consumptive purse;
Still shall thy fatal force my soul perplex,
And every friend, and every brother vex!
Each fond companion! -- -- No, I thank my God!
There rests my torment -- there is hung the rod.
To friend, to fame, to family unknown,
Sour disappointments frown on me alone.
Who hates my song, and damns the poor design,
Shall wound no peace -- shall grieve no heart but mine!
Pardon, sweet Prince! the thoughts that will intrude,
For want is absent, and dejection rude.
Methinks I hear, amid the shouts of Fame,
Each jolly victor hail my Henry's name;
And, Heaven forbid that, in that jovial day,
One British bard should grieve when all are gay.
No! let him find his country has redress,
And bid adieu to every fond distress;
Or, touch'd too near, from joyful scenes retire,
Scorn to complain, and with one sigh expire!

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