1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Allan Ramsay

Anonymous, "On an eminent Scotch Poet and Barber" Flowers of Literature for 1805 (1806) 395-96.



Says Ramsay to Phoebus, my lord, I must tell ye,
The fame that you lend us, fills nobody's belly;
'Tis a diet, like gruel, scarce keeps us alive,
On which fifty grow lean, for a dozen who thrive;
Our bays, though immortal, and laurels to boot,
Will scarce give us credit enough for a suit;
The satires we write are esteem'd but as dirt,
And a tragedy hardly will buy us a shirt;
Our songs and our sonnets are valued less high,
Which a hundred will hum, for a couple who buy.
Since, therefore, our plays, our epistles, and odes,
Neither find us provisions, nor furnish abodes,
Your poets request, you no longer will blame,
Of a little more wealth, and a little less fame!
If I turn a mechanic, let rhyming alone,
And part with the muse for a razor and hone,
And finding your promises courtly and vain,
Retrieve with my hand, what I've lost by my brain.