Archive for November 14th, 2019

Thursday, 14 November 2019

On the Folly of Scribbling for Fame by John Winstanley

To my very good Friend F. G. at Glasnevin.

Some, anxious for Immortal Fame,
For times to come would raise a Name,
Fearing when Flesh and Bones are rotten ,
Their Memory may be forgotten:
So waste a deal of precious Time,
In placing Words in Prose or Rhyme,
To form a Thing, compos’d of Pages,
To live for them in after Ages.
‘Tis done in many a tedious Day,
While Life fleets unenjoy’d away;
Is call’d a Book—oft, soon as read,
Condemn’d, thrown by, before them, dead.
Can ought be more absurd than this?
To barter present real Bliss,
For future, fancy’d Happiness.
Give me, while Life’s short Race I run,
Days free from Scandal, Pain,—or Dun,
Some Sense, to serve an honest End,
A little Wit, to please my Friend,
With Modicum of Mirth and Laughter,
A Fig for empty Fame hereafter.

There’s something more I would have yet,
To make my Happiness compleat;
Because I’d not be plagu’d for Rent,
A little Freehold Tenement,
A House, that I my own may call,
Neither too spacious, nor too small,
A pleasant, quite Rural Seat,
From noisy Town, a calm Retreat,
Like that you’ve built, but not so great.
Some Friends I’d have too, very few,
Good-natur’d, Rational, and True.
Such Friends alas! Too rare to find,
Candid like you, sincere and Kind.
And, lest a Woman I should crave,
For fear of worse, the Wife I have.
Thus, blest in quiet, happy State,
I’d envy neither Rich, nor Great.

From: Winstanley, John, Poems Written Occasionally, 1742, S. Powell: Dublin, pp. 1-3.

Date: 1742

By: John Winstanley (?1678-1750)