1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Jackson Pratt

Richard Graves, "To Mr. Pratt" Gentleman's Magazine 74 (August 1804) 761.



Alas! my friend, you're very kind
To say, that tho' I'm deaf and blind,
Of sight and hearing thus bereft,
My mental vigour still is left;
But while you contradict my senses,
My feeling stronger light dispenses,
And 'spit of all your glowing diction,
Poets, I find, will deal in fiction;
Yet, tho' I think your praise invention,
I thank you for your kind intention.

You tell me, Sir, I still am young,
Nor are you, Sir, intirely wrong—
If follies are of youth the test,
This obvious truth must be confest;
In this respect, I'm still a child,
By every youthful whim beguil'd:
The lovely sex I still admire;
But, ah! what hopes can they inspire?
Love books — I ne'er can read, I fear;
Love music — which I cannot hear;
Love pictures — which I cannot see;
What greater follies can there be?
But, ev'ry scruple to remove,
These dog'rel rhymes the fact will prove.

I'm also twice a man, you say,
Not twice a child — ah! lack-a-day!
I never was, say what you can,
But little more than half a man;
And now, by age and grief worn out,
I still am twice a man, no doubt!
And that my faculties decay,
I feel, alas! each fleeting day;
In short, if still you will dispute;
These rhymes your argument confute.
I'm hastening fast to ninety-one,
And ('tis full time) my work is done.
And hourly now, I keep in view
My latter end. — Dear sir, adieu!
Claverton, April 2, 1804.