“Formed to persuade at distance e’en control,
Or speed soft intercourse from soul to soul,
The pen her empire claims, each due desert,
And now would all her influence exert,”
As on fair Ellen’s desk she waiting lay,
Th’expected Muses signal to obey,
A pencil (long discarded) scornful eyed
The boasting instrument — indignant cried,
“Vain feather! Pert, presumptuous thing!
Would’st thou from morn till night thy praises sing?
’Tis true, the here thou’rt favor’d, but what then
Are there not many who abuse the pen?
And oft a vehicle for nonsense claim
Thy willing pow’rs, to ev’ry hand the same,
The poet, as the villian’s ready tool
Thou aid’st alike the senate or the school,
So versatile thy form us oft to send,
Distress or transport to an absent friend,
Not such my talents, tho’ neglected here,
The sons of genius hold me ever dear,
Whether thro’ insect race, or flow’rs, or trees,
I move in ev’ry form alike to please;
Nature for me in beauty’s charms array’d,
Now beams in light, now vanishes in shade!
E’en Ellen’s self would own my pleasing art,
Did’st thou a milder influence impart
Than that of poetry’s enchanting spell.
We surely here as favor’d friends might dwell
And be it so,” the judge Apollo said —
“The willing servants of my fav’rite maid
Bid rival pow’rs let envious contest cease,
Be by exertion great — and live in peace
Each art and science may be missapplied
But in th mind of genuine worth allied,
They may in excellence distinguish’d shine,
And give to poetry a form divine!”