Sidor som bilder

Yet, soft! shall I dare, a presumptuous elf,
Thus claim all the quills of a goose to myself?
Forbid it, Ma'am Candour, its quackings belong

To crowds that like me claim the Bays for the

Since furor scribendi now rages so wide,

That rhymsters may waddle with geese side by


But in proof of the prowess my wit can infuse,

And stamp myself truly a son of the Muse,

Though loudly the Bards all against me may halloo,

I rank with the Nine a true chip of Apollo;

And my name when


you hear it must make a great

I'm christ'n'd Sir Noodle O'Scribblecumdash.

Some writers there are, who possessing no fame, Would snatch from my temples the Laurel I claim; Who dare, without reading, all subjects critique, Whether Metre or Prose, Hebrew, Latin, or Greek; But vers'd in all topics I'm fram'd for my station, The Giant Reviewer of England's great Nation!

My noddle with erudite lore arm'd quite thorough,
Defying Reviewers of fam'd Edinborough; (a)

Who, staunch as their itch, send each Author to pot,
That cannot proclaim he's by birth a true Scot.
With feelings more candid I 'gin my career,
And judge, without prejudice, peasant and peer;

(a) There is no need to cross the Tweed in order to prove the illiberality of the reviewers of literature, as the metropolis of England teems every month with specimens of the grossest injustice, couched under assurances of the most scrupulous disin terestedness on the part of the editors, who are biassed by public opinion; not to lay any stress upon private pique, which has too frequently instigated their proceedings. One instance, however, the writer has to record, as coming directly under his cognizance, of a literary character, who, while in the practice of affixing his name to the title-page of his productions, was uniformly handled in the most illiberal manner; whereas, no sooner had he adopted the expedient of annexing a false signature, than several of these conscientious censors of literature, who would not have allowed this author the smallest share of praise had his name been rendered public, were themselves the most conspicuous in blazoning forth his productions, as being characterised by every requisite that could render them worthy the patronage of the public.

The fine vellum, wire-wove, broad margin, hot


With Bulmer and Ballantine's types choicely


Not plates with vignettes can my acumen blind,

And make me commend where I cannot trace


So if Smithfield's Long Lane e'er should pathos


I'd praise whity-brown, and consign to a use

-Which here can't be mention'd the hot-press'd that


Of title and fortune the dull leaden lore.

I envy no talent in poor or in great,

I laud or condemn void of spleen or of hate;
For genius I search, truly fir'd in the cause,
And merit, when found, shall ensure my applause;

While upstarts, that dare load the press with their


Shall taste of Sir Noodle O'Scribble the lash.

And faith there's of Authors so many found tripping, Where one merits praise, ninety-nine deserve whipping; (b)

(b) Notwithstanding the correctness of the above assertion, it is hoped that no young bard will despair of arriving at the summit of Parnassus, be his dawning effusions what they may, when it is remembered that the great Jonathan Swift made his debut in the literary world by one of the most wretched odes that could disgrace the votaries of Grub-street: for the truth of which assertion let the following extracts stand recorded.

"The first of plants, after the thunder-storm and rain,

And thence, with joyful, nimble wing,

Flew dutifully back again."

"Who by that, vainly talks of baffling death,

And hopes to lessen life by a transfusion of breath ?”


"And seem almost transform'd to water, flame, and air, So well you answer all phenomenas there."

If any thing, however, could contribute to the disgrace of

So each back of offender my weapon assails

Will doubtless exclaim, 'tis a cat with nine tails ;
But if idiots will arrogate Wisdom's array,

They deserve to be laugh'd at as donkeys that bray :
Thus having spoke plain to each genius and doodle,
They know what they have to expect from Sir

Who now ends his comment with counsel that's


Let men learn to read ere they venture to write.

Since man in his nature cannot control wit,

Poeta, says Ovid, is born and Non fit. (c)

writing such a poem, it is the folly of having addressed it, with a very silly introductory letter, to the writers of the Athenian Oracle; a set of people whose conceit in offering to answer all questions, ignorance in giving solutions, and credulity in listening to the grossest falsehoods, is rendered conspicuous throughout the work in question. At the period when the above mentioned ode was written, Swift had attained the age of twentyfour.

(c) The following quotation, from a modern author, is inserted, as peculiarly applicable to the above line:

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