…from the quills of the dead white poets
Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)
Has heaven reserv’d, in pity to the poor,
No pathless waste, or undiscover’d shore?
No secret island in the boundless main?
No peaceful desert yet unclaim’d by Spain?
Quick let us rise, the happy seats explore,
And bear oppression’s insolence no more.
This mournful truth is everywhere confess’d,
SLOW RISES WORTH, BY POVERTY DEPRESS’D:
But here more slow, where all are slaves to gold,
Where looks are merchadise, and slave are sold;
Where won by bribes, by flatteries implor’d
The groom retails the favours of his lord.
But hark! Th’ affrighted crowd’s tumulous cries
Roll through the street, and thunder to the skies:
Rais’d from some pleasing dream of wealth and pow’r,
Some pompous palace, or some blissful bow’r;
Aghast you start, and scarce with aching sight
Sustain th’ approaching fire tremendoust light;
Swift from puruing horrors take your way,
And leave your little ALL to flames a prey;
Then thro’ the word a wretched vagrant roam,
For where can starving merit find a home?
In vain your mournful narrative disclose,
While all neglect, and most insult your woes.