The Young Author - Poem by Samuel Johnson
When first the peasant, long inclined to roam,
Forsakes his rural sports and peaceful home,
Pleas'd with the scene the smiling ocean yields,
He scorns the verdant meads and flowery fields;
Then dances jocund o'er the watery way,
While the breeze whispers, and the streamers play;
Unbounded prospects in his bosom roll,
And future millions lift his rising soul;
In blissful dreams he digs the golden mine,
And raptured sees the new-found ruby shine.
Joys insincere, thick clouds invade the skies,
Loud roar the billows, high the waves arise;
Sickening with fear, he longs to view the shore
And vows to trust the faithless deep no more.
So the Young Author, panting after fame,
And the long honours of a lasting name,
Intrusts his happiness to human kind,
More false, more cruel, than the seas, or wind.
'Toil on, dull crowd' (in ecstasies he cries)
'For wealth or title, perishable prize:
While I those transitory blessings scorn,
Secure of praise from ages yet unborn.' -
This thought once form'd, all counsel comes too late,
He flies to press, and hurries on his fate;
Swiftly he sees the imagined laurels spread,
And feels the unfading wreath surround his head.
Warn'd by another's fate, vain youth, be wise,
Those dreams were Settle's once, and Ogilby's!
The pamphlet spreads, incessant hisses rise,
To some retreat the baffled writer flies;
Where no sour critics snarl, no sneers molest,
Safe from the tart lampoon, and stinging jest;
There begs of Heaven a less distinguish'd lot,
Glad to be hid, and proud to be forgot.
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