1724 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

James Heywood, "To Mr. Gay, on his Poem, entitled, Trivia, or The Art of Walking the Streets of London" Heywood, Poems and Letters on Several Subjects (1724) 3-5.



O GAY! my grateful Thoughts do crowd my Mind,
To tell you what harmonious Lines I find
In this thy TRIVIA; such beauties shine,
I'm pleas'd to see a Wonder in each Line:
So much thy tow'ring Thoughts my Fancy fire,
The more I read, the more I still admire.

What Critick, with his stabbing Pen, can stain
Thy tuneful Verse, or eclipse thy Fame?
The very Momus which insults thy Name
Envies thy Genius, tho' thy Verses blame.
Thy useful Hints direct the rural 'Squire,
His Steps from wand'ring Females to retire.
To hoary Heads thou'rt an indulgent Friend,
And those which under heavy Burdens bend.
When jostling busy Crowds walk in the Street,
And helpless Objects, Blind and Lame, we meet,
Thou dost instruct us what Respect to pay,
To give the Wall, and when to take the Way.
These Men with thankful Voice will give thee Praise,
Pray for thy Health, and with thee prosp'rous Days.

Whether by Phoebus' Meridian Light,
Or in the gloomy Horror of the Night,
I walk, in winding Alleys, Streets unknown,
And lose my Way in this great Hive, the Town,
By thy Directions, I shall fear no Ill,
No panick Terror shall my Bosom fill:
Whilst I walk Streets, thy Precepts I'll imbibe,
TRIVIA shall be my Convoy, and my Guide.