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Poems

To a new england poet

Though skilled in Latin and in Greek,
And earning fifty cents a week,
Such knowledge, and the income, too,
Should teach you better what to do:
The meanest drudges, kept in pay,
Can pocket fifty cents a day.

Why stay in such a tasteless land,
Where all must on a level stand,
(Excepting people, at their ease,
Who choose the level where they please:)
See Irving gone to Britain's court
To people of another sort,
He will return, with wealth and fame,
While Yankees hardly know your name.

Lo! he has kissed a Monarch's--hand!
Before a prince I see him stand,
And with the glittering nobles mix,
Forgetting times of seventy-six,
While you with terror meet the frown
Of Bank Directors of the town,
The home-made nobles of our times,
Who hate the bard, and spurn his rhymes.

Why pause?--like Irving, haste away,
To England your addresses pay;
And England will reward you well,
When you some pompous story tell
Of British feats, and British arms,
The maids of honor, and their charms.

Dear bard, I pray you, take the hint,
In England what you write and print,
Republished here in shop, or stall,
Will perfectly enchant us all:
It will assume a different face,
And post your name at every place,
From splendid domes of first degree
Where ladies meet, to sip their tea;
From marble halls, where lawyers plead,
Or Congress-men talk loud, indeed,
To huts, where evening clubs appear,
And 'squires resort--to guzzle Beer.

1823

 

l. 11. Irving: Washington Irving (1783-1859), the first American author to attain an international reputation.
l. 18. times of seventy-six: refers to the American War of Independence, which began in 1776.