John Bryant

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The author on his own situation

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Verses by John Frederick Bryant

Oft, tho' by Poverty's chill hand depress'd,
I've felt the charm that warm'd the poet's breast;
Oft, at the leisure hour, indulg'd my rage
To turn the borrow'd volume's magic page,
5 Where some choice fav'rite of th'inspiring Nine
Immortal lives in each immortal line;
As oft, by daring Emulation fir'd,
Invok'd the muse, and felt myself inspire'd
But ere quick Fancy snatch'd the heav'n-born strain,
10 By Mis'ry seiz'd, I sunk depress'd again.
Still lur'd by Hope, my wounded genius tries
On sacred Inspiration's wings to rise,
Eager to brave the Critic's damning frown:
But Fate soon brings the wretched soarer down.
15 Doom'd by diurnal toil and sordid care
To rub through life, and earn my scanty fare,
What frenzy urges my aspiring soul,
That aims among the tuneful spheres to roll?
Oft wak'd, as from a dream, from strains divine,
20 By angry dun, I lack th'appeasing coin -
It may be, have not wherewithal to dine.
Ah! then the heart-felt rhapsody is o'er,
And then I vow to court the muse no more:
But soon my heart resumes the fond desire;
25 Affections long indulg'd but slow expire.
Again the pleasing prospect I review;
Again the song descriptive I renew;
Again divine Urania's voice I hear,
And all the bright empyreal scenes appear.
30 O! would some gen'rous patronising friend
My murth'ring woes and dire vexations end;
Dismiss each threat'ning dun, each anxious care,
And bid me eat and sing, devoid of fear!
Loud should my grateful song proclaim his praise,
35 Whose fost'ring hand does friendless genius raise;
His kind commands my future themes should name;
His friendly counsel guide my flight to fame.

First published 1787.