Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ODE TO SENTIMENT, by JAMES SMITH (1775-1839)



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ODE TO SENTIMENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Daughter of dulness! Canting dame!
Last Line: Usurp the play -- 'tis your's -- but spare the pantomime.
Subject(s): Laughter; Love; Tears


DAUGHTER of dulness! canting dame!
Thou night-mare on the breast of joy,
Whose drowsy morals, still the same,
The stupid soothe, the gay annoy;
Soft cradled in thy sluggish arms,
E'en footpads prate of guilt's alarms,
And pig-tailed sailors, sadly queer,
Affect the melting mood, and drop the pitying tear.

When first to tickle Britain's nose
Hugh Kelly raised his leaden quill,
Thy poppies lent the wished repose,
And bade the gaping town be still.
Poor Comedy! thine opiate lore
With patience many a day she bore,
Till Goldsmith all thy hopes dismay'd,
And drove thee from the stage by Tony Lumpkin's aid.

Scared by thy lanthorn visage, flee
Thalia's offspring light and merry,
Loud laughter, wit, and repartee,
And leave us moralising Cherry.
They fly, and carry in their line,
Grimaldi, Goose, and Columbine,
To Sadler's Wells by Dibdin taken,
With him they vow to dwell, nor find themselves forsaken.

Soliloquy, with clamorous tongue,
That brings the Lord knows what to view,
And, Affectation, pert and young,
Swearing to love -- the Lord knows who;
Still round the midnight caldron caper,
Warm Charity with Newland's paper,
And baby Bounty not unwilling
To give to mother dear her new King George's shilling.

O gently o'er the modern stage,
Fair preacher, raise thy deafening din!
Not with the metaphoric rage
That guides the sword of Harlequin,
(As erst thou didst the town amuse,)
With tender bailiffs, generous Jews,
Socratic soldiers, praying sailors,
Chaste harlots, lettered clowns, and duel-fighting tailors.

Forbear thy handkerchief of brine,
Some gleams of merriment admit;
Be tears in moderation thine,
To water, not to drown, the pit.
But if, with streaming eye askew,
Thou still wilt blubber five acts through,
Have pity on a son of rhyme,
Usurp the play -- 'tis your's -- but spare the pantomime.





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