At midnight’s solemn hour I chose
Your promised verses to compose
So kneeling near the Attic Chest
I thus the sacred Nine addressed
Daughters of memory, attend,
And me your suppliant befriend,
If in early years I paid,
Homage to each tuneful maid,
If my rude and childish lays
Then were honoured with your praise
If, as years increase, to you
Still I bend with reverence due;
Whether in Arcadian bowers,
Now you braid your locks with flowers
Or in academic shades
Or in Tempe’s lucid glades
Now you sing of beauty’s charms
Love’s delights, and feats of arms
Or — but why my call prolong?
Arise, inspiring power of song,
Erato rise, they lyric strains
Impart — nor think my soul disdains,
Calliope they nobler line
No! sweet Empress of the Nine!
I in some maturer time,
May bid thee raise the epic rhymes;
But they sister’s lighter treasures
Now diffused in sprightly measures,
Best will suit my humbler strain,
But alas! I sue in vain,
Not a Muse my call attends
Not a Muse my verse befriends,
Sure slumber — Have I chose,
A moment sacred to repose?
No we sleep not — Powers divine,
Answering cried the wakeful Nine,
Never feel soft slumbers power,
Superior to his force they tower.
But so many on this day
Have required Erato’s lay,
And certain maids near Fitzroy Square
Have been from morn till night her care.
She has not left a single line
To grace thy hapless Valentine.
Silent and sorrowing I withdrew
To find the Muse engrossed by you
When you had made such large demands
Upon my weary head and hands,
Defrauded of the Muses aid
To you I leave the rhyming trade
I send you slips of paper three
Which you may fill to self from me
And should not this exhaust your store
Of ill-got verse — I’ll send you more.
E. A. Porden