1708 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Blackmore

Anonymous, in The Flight of the Pretender (1708) 2-3.



Beat up for Volunteers who Rime for Bread,
Whose unfledg'd Muses, no high Subject dread.
All the inferior Race that can indite,
A sorry Prologue, or a Poem write;
All that can raise a Shed, let them presume,
To Frame a Palace and erect a Dome.
Once more let Arthurs Ballad-singer dare,
Torture our Language to oblige our Ear,
With Numbers soft, express the din of War.
Turner of Verse, and finisher of Rime,
Frequent Pretender to the Song sublime;
Who thinks with Fame immortal he is Crown'd,
By flowing Numbers, and harmonious Sound,
Who without Fire and mindless of Design,
Plys hard the Pump, and labours every Line
To make, like empty Clouds, his Diction shine.
Who to complete Poetic Eloquence,
Has nothing wanting but Design and Sense;
Oh let him now his thoughtless Muse employ,
In lulling Strains pure Passion to destroy,
Neither creating Pain nor giving Joy:
But let him with his usual Raptures say,
And when Aurora plush'd, it then was Day,
And when the Wind was fair, poor Perkin sail'd away.