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A Tale of the Miser, and the Poet.

Written about the Year 1709.

1 A WIT, transported with Inditing,
2 Unpay'd, unprais'd, yet ever Writing;
3 Who, for all Fights and Fav'rite Friends,
4 Had Poems at his Fingers Ends;
5 For new Events was still providing;
6 Yet now desirous to be riding,
7 He pack'd-up ev'ry Ode and Ditty,
8 And in Vacation left the City;
9 So rapt with Figures, and Allusions,
10 With secret Passions, sweet Confusions;
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11 With Sentences from Plays well-known,
12 And thousand Couplets of his own;
13 That ev'n the chalky Road look'd gay,
14 And seem'd to him the Milky Way.
15 But Fortune, who the Ball is tossing,
16 And Poets ever will be crossing,
17 Misled the Steed, which ill he guided,
18 Where several gloomy Paths divided.
19 The steepest in Descent he follow'd,
20 Enclos'd by Rocks, which Time had hollow'd;
21 Till, he believ'd, alive and booted,
22 He'd reach'd the Shades by Homer quoted.
23 But all, that he cou'd there discover,
24 Was, in a Pit with Thorns grown over,
25 Old Mammon digging, straining, sweating,
26 As Bags of Gold he thence was getting;
27 Who, when reprov'd for such Dejections
28 By him, who liv'd on high Reflections,
29 Reply'd; Brave Sir, your Time is ended,
30 And Poetry no more befriended.
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31 I hid this Coin, when Charles was swaying;
32 When all was Riot, Masking, Playing;
33 When witty Beggars were in fashion,
34 And Learning had o'er-run the Nation.
35 But, since Mankind is so much wiser,
36 That none is valu'd like the Miser,
37 I draw it hence, and now these Sums
38 In proper Soil grow up to
A Plumb is a Cant word, signifying a Hundred Thousand Pound.
Plumbs;
39 Which gather'd once, from that rich Minute
40 We rule the World, and all that's in it.
41 But, quoth the Poet, can you raise,
42 As well as Plumb-trees, Groves of Bays?
43 Where you, which I wou'd chuse much rather,
44 May Fruits of Reputation gather?
45 Will Men of Quality, and Spirit,
46 Regard you for intrinsick Merit?
47 And seek you out, before your Betters,
48 For Conversation, Wit, and Letters?
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49 Fool, quoth the Churl, who knew no Breeding;
50 Have these been Times for such Proceeding?
51 Instead of Honour'd, and Rewarded,
52 Are you not Slighted, or Discarded?
53 What have you met with, but Disgraces?
54 Your PRIOR cou'd not keep in Places;
55 And your VAN-BRUG had found no Quarter,
56 But for his dabbling in the Morter.
57 ROWE no Advantages cou'd hit on,
58 Till Verse he left, to write North-Briton.
59 PHILIPS, who's by the Shilling known,
60 Ne'er saw a Shilling of his own.
61 Meets
* Mrs. Singer, Author of several excellent Poems.
PHILOMELA, in the Town
62 Her due Proportion of Renown?
63 What Pref'rence has ARDELIA seen,
64 T' expel, tho' she cou'd write the Spleen?
65 Of Coach, or Tables, can you brag,
66 Or better Cloaths than Poet RAG?
67 Do wealthy Kindred, when they meet you,
68 With Kindness, or Distinction, greet you?
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69 Or have your lately flatter'd Heroes
70 Enrich'd you like the Roman Maroes?
71 No quoth the Man of broken Slumbers:
72 Yet we have Patrons for our Numbers;
73 There are Mecaenas's among 'em.
74 Quoth Mammon, pray Sir, do not wrong 'em;
75 But in your Censures use a Conscience,
76 Nor charge Great Men with thriftless Nonsense:
77 Since they, as your own Poets sing,
78 Now grant no Worth in any thing
79 But so much Money as 'twill bring.
80 Then, never more from your Endeavours
81 Expect Preferment, or less Favours.
82 But if you'll 'scape Contempt, or worse,
83 Be sure, put Money in your Purse;
84 Money! which only can relieve you
85 When Fame and Friendship will deceive you.
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86 Sir, (quoth the Poet humbly bowing,
87 And all that he had said allowing)
88 Behold me and my airy Fancies
89 Subdu'd, like Giants in Romances.
90 I here submit to your Discourses;
91 Which since Experience too enforces,
92 I, in that solitary Pit,
93 Your Gold withdrawn, will hide my Wit
94 Till Time, which hastily advances,
95 And gives to all new Turns and Chances
96 Again may bring it into use;
97 Roscommons may again produce;
98 New Augustean Days revive,
99 When Wit shall please, and Poets thrive.
100 Till when, let those converse in private,
101 Who taste what others don't arrive at;
102 Yielding that Mammonists surpass us,
103 And let the Bank out-swell Parnassus.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): A Tale of the Miser, and the Poet. Written about the Year 1709.
Themes: poetry; literature; writing; money
Genres: allegory

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Source edition

Miscellany poems, on several occasions: Written by the Right Honble Anne, Countess of Winchilsea. London: printed for J. B. and sold by Benj. Tooke, William Taylor, and James Round, 1713, pp. 145-150. [8],390p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T94539; Foxon pp. 274-5; OTA K076314.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Anne Finch (née Kingsmill), countess of Winchilsea