William Dodd, 1729-1777:
[from Poems (1767)]

1    Yes, they will laugh;---but whom, O S---e, enquire?
2    The wretched sons of vice and foul desire:
3    To these your page immoral may be dear,
4    But virtue o'er it sheds the conscious tear:
5    The wise, the modest, view it with concern;
6    Detest the matter, and the master mourn.
7    Is it for this you wear the sacred gown,
8    To write and live the Shandy of the town?
9    Is it for this the holy hand was laid,
10    Thrice awful consecration!---on your head?
11    Is it for this the sacred page was giv'n
12    To teach high truths, and point the way to heav'n?
13    Is it for this, that, trifler loose and vain,
14    With page unhallow'd, and with pen obscene,
15    You might against the cause of goodness war,
16    Soil the pure mind, and truth's fair features mar?
17    Ah! think what you will surely know too soon,
18    Tho' some may laugh, none love the loose buffoon:
19    But of buffoons the scorn and veriest fellow,
20    Is the buffoon, strange monster---in prunello!
21    With all your might, tho' you have stretch'd your hand,
22    To scatter poison, and defile the land;
23    Yet let me once my gratulations pay,
24    For that your will exceeds your best essay:
25    I joy to praise you for your foulest sheet,
26    Jests most indelicate, and dearth of wit.
27    The time will come, when you with me shall join,
28    To bless the blasting of each putrid line:
29    For oh the time will come, when you shall feel
30    Stabs in your heart more sharp than stabs of steel;
31    When conscience loud, shall thunder in your ear,
32    And all your wide-spread ill in horrid form appear!
33    Prevent the hour, for pity's sake I ask,
34    And oh, perform your own advised task; [1]
35    Search your own heart, you'll find the debt is large,
36    And haste, perform the duties of your charge;
37    Leave the vile town, nor wish it in your pow'r,
38    To shine the giddy meteor of an hour.
39    Ah! you have talents,---do not misapply,
40    Ah you have time,---seize, seize it, ere it fly;
41    Strait seize it, for too short you needs must own
42    Whate'er of life remaineth to atone
43    For all the filth diffus'd, and evil you have done.

[1] See Sterne's Sermons, Vol. I. Sermon 4th.

Copyright © 1996-99 Chadwyck-Healey Ltd and Chadwyck-Healey Inc.

Back to my homepage