Praise of the Literary Fund

See genius sickening at the ills of life
With penury maintain a glorious strife,
In that sad hour when want and pining care
Has stripped his garret, worn his garments bare,
Furrow’d his manly front, while his wan cheek
The ravages of famine seem to speak;
Oppress’d but not o’ercome — intent alone
On Science, seated, on her radiant throne
The mild attractive graces in her train
These, he invokes nor yet invokes in vain;
For, all apparent to his raptured eye
The genius, Inspiration, hovers nigh,
Prompts him to let imagination soar
To truth’s bright realm; and from her sacred store
Collect some rays such knowledge to impart
As may inform the mind and touch the heart,
Studious by wit and judgement well combined
Less to astonish than to mend mankind
He listens and conceives some lofty theme
Anxious to realize the flatt’ring dream:
Then takes the pen; and with his backward hand
Repels the spectres that around him stand;
Care, Famine, dire disease with grisly stare
Who pressing on, beset his tott’ring chair
When lo! like pensive mis’ry, as he sits
The gently opening door a guest admits;
A stranger, and of countenance benign
Who enters leading in a form divine.
Sweet smiling hope — and straight a scroll unfolds
Which struck with mute amaze he fixed beholds;
With eager eye, enraptur’d thus he reads
The Literary Fund this message speeds
It bids desert and genius pine no more
It says ’tis yours, unsought to share the store
Which pure Benevolence, as tribute due
Adjudg’d to merit, and assigns to you.