SPOKEN BY MR. REDDISH
Critics, hark forward! noble game and new;
A fine West Indian started full in view:
Hot as the soil, the clime, which gave him birth,
You'll run him on a burning scent to earth;
Bag him, he'll serve you for another chase;
For sure that country has no feeble claim,
|Yet don't devour him in his hiding place; ||5|
Which swells your commerce, and supports your fame.
And in this humble sketch, we hope you'll find
Some little touches, which, though void of art,
May find perhaps their way into the heart.
|Some emanations of a noble mind; ||10|
Another hero your excuse implores,
Sent by your sister kingdom to your shores;
To fight for bread against his native land:
A brave, unthinking, animated rogue,
|Doomed by religion's too severe command, ||15|
With here and there a touch upon the brogue;
Laugh, but despise him not, for on his lip
Others there are -- but may we not prevail
To let the gentry tell their own plain tale?
|His errors lie; his heart can never trip. ||20|
Shall they come in? They'll please you, if they can;
If not, condemn the bard -- but spare the man.
A wish to please is made the worst of crimes;
Dire slander now with black envenomed dart,
|For speak, think, act, or write in angry times, ||25|
Stands ever armed to stab you to the heart.
Rouse, Britons, rouse, for honor of your isle,
You say we write not like our fathers -- true,
Nor were our fathers half so strict as you,
|Your old good humor; and be seen to smile. ||30|
Damned not each error of the poet's pen,
But judging man, remembered they were men.
Sleeps many a wise, and many a witty muse;
We that for mere experiment come out,
|Awed into silence by the times' abuse, ||35|
Are but the light-armed rangers on the scout:
High on Parnassus' lofty summit stands
But give fair quarter to us puny elves,
The giants then will sally forth themselves;
|The immortal camp; there lie the chosen bands! ||40|
With wit's sharp weapons vindicate the age,
And drive ev'n Arthur's magic from the stage.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan.
Contributors: George Henry Nettleton - Editor, Arthur Eillicot Case - Editor.
Publisher: Boston ; Houghton Mifflin company,..
Place of publication: Boston; New York.
Publication year: 1939.
Page number: 721.
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