Excerpt from “Advice to the Poets. A Poem” by Richard Blackmore

Ye mercenary Wits, who Rime for Bread,
Ye unfledg’d Muses, this high Subject dread.
Let not th’ inferior Race, who can indite
A pretty Prologue, or a Sonnet write;
Tho’ none so forward are, so bold as they,
Make on this Theme an Impotent Essay.
All who can raise a Shed, must not presume
To frame a Palace, or erect a Dome.
No more let Milton’s Imitator dare
Torture our Language, to torment our Ear
With Numbers harsher than the Din of War.
Let him no more his horrid Muse employ
In uncouth Strains, pure English to destroy,
And from its Ruins, yell his hideous Joy.
Away, ye Triflers, who all Rule Disdain,
Who in Pindaric sing Philander’s Pain,
And Camps, and Arms, in Paster-Fido’s Strain.
Hence, vain Pretenders to the Song sublime,
Turners of Verse, and Finishers of Rime,
Who think with Fame Immortal you are Crown’d,
By flowing Numbers, and harmonious Sound:
Who without Fire, and mindless of Design,
Ply hard the Pump, and labour every Line,
To make, like empty Clouds, your Diction shine.
So many Masters of this tuneful Skill,
With their melodious Songs the Kingdome fill,
That to compleat Poetic Eloquence,
Nothing is wanting, but Design, and Sense.

From: Blackmore, Richard, Advice to the Poets. A Poem. Occasion’d by the wonderful Success of her Majesty’s Arms, under the Conduct of the Duke of Marlborough, in Flanders, 1706, H.M. for A. and J. Churchill: London, pp. 10-11.

Date: 1707

By: Richard Blackmore (1654-1729)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: