IN AN EPISTLE FROM THOMAS MOORE TO SAMUEL ROGERS.
What, thou, my friend! a man of rhymes,
And, better still, a man of guineas,
To talk of “patrons,” in these times,
When authors thrive like spinning-jennies,
And Arkwright’s twist and Bulwer’s page
Alike may laugh at patronage!
No, no–those times are past away,
When, doomed in upper floors to star it.
The bard inscribed to lords his lay,–
Himself, the while, my Lord Mountgarret.
No more he begs with air dependent.
His “little bark may sail attendant”
Under some lordly skipper’s steerage;
But launched triumphant in the Row,
Or taken by Murray’s self in tow.
Cuts both Star Chamber and the peerage.
Patrons, indeed! when scarce a sail
Is whiskt from England by the gale.
But bears on board some authors, shipt
For foreign shores, all well equipt
With proper book-making machinery,
To sketch the morals, manners, scenery,
Of all such lands as they shall see,
Or not see, as the case may be:–
It being enjoined on all who go
To study first Miss Martineau,
And learn from her the method true,[too.
To do one’s books–and readers,
For so this nymph of nous and nerve
Teaches mankind “How to Observe;”
And, lest mankind at all should swerve,
Teaches them also “What to Observe.”
No, no, my friend–it can’t be blinkt–
The Patron is a race extinct;
As dead as any Megatherion
That ever Buckland built a theory on.
Instead of bartering in this age
Our praise for pence and patronage,
We authors now more prosperous elves,
Have learned to patronize ourselves;
And since all-potent Puffing’s made
The life of song, the soul of trade.
More frugal of our praises grown,
We puff no merits but our own.
Unlike those feeble gales of praise
Which critics blew in former days,
Our modern puffs are of a kind
That truly, really raise the wind;
And since they’ve fairly set in blowing,
We find them the best trade-winds going.
‘Stead of frequenting paths so slippy
As her old haunts near Aganippe,
The Muse now taking to the till
Has opened shop on Ludgate Hill
(Far handier than the Hill of Pindus,
As seen from bard’s back attic windows):
And swallowing there without cessation
Large draughts (at sight) of inspiration,
Touches the notes for each new theme,
While still fresh “change comes o’er her dream.”
What Steam is on the deep–and more–
Is the vast power of Puff on shore;
Which jumps to glory’s future tenses
Before the present even commences;
And makes “immortal” and “divine” of us
Before the world has read one line of us.
In old times, when the God of Song
Drove his own two-horse team along,
Carrying inside a bard or two,
Bookt for posterity “all thro’;”–
Their luggage, a few close-packt rhymes,
(Like yours, my friend,) for after-times–
So slow the pull to Fame’s abode,
That folks oft slept upon the road;–
And Homer’s self, sometimes, they say,
Took to his night-cap on the way.
Ye Gods! how different is the story
With our new galloping sons of glory,
Who, scorning all such slack and slow time,
Dash to posterity in no time!
Raise but one general blast of Puff
To start your author–that’s enough.
In vain the critics set to watch him
Try at the starting post to catch him:
He’s off–the puffers carry it hollow–
The critics, if they please, may follow.
Ere they‘ve laid down their first positions,
He’s fairly blown thro’ six editions!
In vain doth Edinburgh dispense
Her blue and yellow pestilence
(That plague so awful in my time
To young and touchy sons of rhyme)–
The Quarterly, at three months’ date,
To catch the Unread One, comes too late;
And nonsense, littered in a hurry,
Becomes “immortal,” spite of Murray.
But bless me!–while I thus keep fooling,
I hear a voice cry, “Dinner’s cooling.”
That postman too (who, truth to tell,
‘Mong men of letters bears the bell,)
Keeps ringing, ringing, so infernally
That I must stop–