To great Apollo! Leader! Prince Divine!
From Clio, eldest of his faithful Nine.
Permit me in my vindication,
To plead incessant occupation,
In my department, I’m obliged to dash on
Biography’s become so much the fashion.
Then for posthumous works, no creature dies,
But ev’ry scrap of paper’s, made a prize,
Was he a wit, seize his taylor’s bills,
Old turnpike tickets, love letters, and wills;
Besides, I’m writing for the Cyclopeida,
And furnish notes, for ‘Il divin Commedia’.
Shortly I shall be call’d upon I know,
To aid my fav’rite lect’rer, Master Crowe.
For how should he, and other grave professors
Who of such stores of learning are possessors
Say, how should they, unless through our tuition
Illume the minds of persons of condition?
Thus, Sir you see, that business my excuse is,
The same, you’ll find detains my sister Muses,
They write, and I conclude, with hope most fervent,
That you, will pardon you obedient Servant.
My sister Clio, gracious Sir hath prov’d,
That if from town we should be now remov’d,
I would cause, depend upon’t, complete stagnation
To ev’rything polite, throughout the nation.
The theatres for instance, what could they do
Should I desert them, and my sister Tha[lia] too?
Not knowing how to act, they’d play the deuce,
From Lear’s, and Richard’s, down to Mother Goose
No more Young Hamlet could make starts and speeches
Or Prosp’ro threaten us with pains and aches
The world must be amus’d, and I should say,
The very best amusement, is a play.
To weep for princes or to laugh at fools,
E’en just as feeling guides, or fashion rules.
Without Melpomone, nothing can be done
Let it be Op’ra, farce, or tragedy all’s one,
At a new comedy, folks expect to cry
And op’ra heroes, always, sing and die.
To leave my pupils too, would be a crime,
Bless me instead of tragedy they’d write pantomime.
I’ve lately tried a fav’rite poet,
But if you see the papers, you must know it.
And here I must conclude the hour is come
I go to the rehearsal of Tom Thumb!
I can’t help laughing Sir upon my word,
To think that Hermes should be so absurd,
Sure of his sense he has taken leave,
Or his mistake he would at once perceive,
‘Tis quite impossible that any miss
Should quit dear London, at a time like this.
To seek for freezing waterfalls, and dull cascades,
While the town rings with balls, and masquerades.
But don’t be shocked Sir, that to these, I go,
I hold my tongue, and wear a domino,
They’re much too dull for me, I do insist,
But fashion beats her drum, and all enlist,
These things kill time Sir, but my chief enjoyment
Arises from a different employment.
‘Tis running here, and there, both night and day,
In search of characters for -----’s play
Pay morning visits, or some carriage pop in
Of country ladies, who are going a-shopping,
This is my morning’s work, when that is done,
I join some city party, at Pope Joan,
As ’tis from life that characters I steal,
To make them like, I take them en famille,
Such hints as these, an author can’t refuse,
They pass for inspirations of the Muse.
Melpomone is right, I dare engage
We are the sole supporters of the stage,
And “All the world’s a stage” as Shakespear says
Therefore, it follows, that there must be plays.
Now my dear Sir (but mind it’s entre nous)
I’ve hit on something that I think will do,
What say you Sir, ’twould sure be no disgrace
To make of Helicon, a wat’ring place;
Oh what attraction for the stylish belles
To sip the waters of Parnassian wells!
And for the beaux, each hero of the whip
To peep at Helicon, would take a trip.
Wer’t only for the drive, see how they come
Each moves a coachman, and each looks a groom!
And then dear Sir, do give a fète al-fresco,
Where all the company should in full dress1 go,
And ev’ry night, how gaily it would pass,
If all the walks were lighted up with gas!
Now Sir I hope upon consideration
My plan will meet your fullest approbation.
An author beckons me and cries Nay Nay
Do come directly, and inspire me pray,
He begs so hard poor devil for some fire
That I must end this billet, yours
More serious occupations recall Fitz Pieria to the country, and will for a short time interrupt all communication with the Attic Chest. The gentleman who thought he had interest to introduce Fitz P—— has left town without performing his promise if F.P. could receive an intimation that his visit would be a welcome one, he would be most happy to appear with the finale of his poem in his hand upon his return to the metropolis.
A letter addressed to F.P. Esqre to be left at the bar of Toms Coffee house will be forwarded to him.
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