SPOKEN BY MR. REDDISH1
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;
Yet don't devour him in his hiding place; 5 Bag him, he'll serve you for another chase; For sure that country has no feeble claim,
Which swells your commerce, and supports your fame.
And in this humble sketch, we hope you'll find
Some emanations of a noble mind; 10 Some little touches, which, though void of art, May find perhaps their way into the heart.
Another hero your excuse implores,
Sent by your sister kingdom to your shores;
Doomed by religion's too severe command, 15 To fight for bread against his native land: A brave, unthinking, animated rogue,
With here and there a touch upon the brogue;
Laugh, but despise him not, for on his lip
His errors lie; his heart can never trip. 20 Others there are -- but may we not prevail To let the gentry tell their own plain tale?
Shall they come in? They'll please you, if they can;
If not, condemn the bard -- but spare the man.
For speak, think, act, or write in angry times, 25 A wish to please is made the worst of crimes; Dire slander now with black envenomed dart,
Stands ever armed to stab you to the heart.
Rouse, Britons, rouse, for honor of your isle,
Your old good humor; and be seen to smile. 30 You say we write not like our fathers -- true, Nor were our fathers half so strict as you,
Damned not each error of the poet's pen,
But judging man, remembered they were men.
Awed into silence by the times' abuse, 35 Sleeps many a wise, and many a witty muse; We that for mere experiment come out,
Are but the light-armed rangers on the scout:
High on Parnassus' lofty summit stands
The immortal camp; there lie the chosen bands! 40 But give fair quarter to us puny elves, The giants then will sally forth themselves;
With wit's sharp weapons vindicate the age,
And drive ev'n Arthur's2 magic from the stage.