[Page 167]

ADVICE to MYRTILLO.

1 SINCE you, Myrtillo, will devote your Time
2 To the lean Study of delusive Rhyme:
3 Since you're content to slumber out your Days,
4 To dream of Dinners, but to feed on Praise;
5 Receive this Counsel, e'er your Flights begin,
6 From one long practis'd in the darling Sin.
7 Now Fame's broad Ocean lies before your Way;
8 Yet, Friend, be careful; 'tis a dang'rous Sea:
9 Where (tho' some few may reach the happy Land)
10 Numbers are wreck'd upon the treach'rous Sand:
11 Then guard your Spirits, as you prize your Ease,
12 Nor once indulge 'em in a thirst of Praise;
13 For Fame, like Fortune, (proud, yet wanton too)
14 Is pleas'd to fly and make the Wretch pursue;
15 Frowns on her Slaves, but to the careless Mind
16 That slights her Favours she is always kind.
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17 Would you the Ladies shou'd approve your Song?
18 Paint Sylvia's Eyes, or praise Clarinda's Tongue;
19 Describe the Charms of Cloe's sprightly Air,
20 Or blooming Daphne more divinely fair;
21 Or Venus's Son that hurls the flaming Dart,
22 And tag each Stanza with a bleeding Heart:
23 Tell them of Rocks where Tears eternal flow,
24 Dissolv'd to Fountains by a Lover's Woe:
25 Of icy Bosoms that in Summer freeze,
26 And Sighs much stronger than a southern Breeze.
27 Perhaps the Fair, whom for a Theme you choose,
28 Must owe her Beauties to your skilful Muse:
29 Has erring Nature raiss'd her Nose too high,
30 Sunk down her Cheeks, or drawn her Lips awry?
31 No matter how the twisted Features stand,
32 They'll grow divine beneath a Poet's Hand:
33 Tho' her dim Eye-balls roll within her Head,
34 Like two gray Bullets in a Verge of red;
35 You like Promotheus must their Rays inspire,
36 And fill their Orbs with more than mortal Fire.
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37 Do you the Levee of his Grace attend,
38 And (like most Poets) shou'd you want a Friend,
39 Make not his Worth the Measure of your Song;
40 But learn his Humour, and you can't be wrong:
41 Perhaps this Maxim may offend the wise;
42 But you must flatter, if you mean to rise:
43 Observe what Passions in his Bosom roll,
44 And watch the secret Motions of his Soul:
45 Mind what false Guard has left a Breach within,
46 For some choice Folly, or some darling Sin:
47 These you must hide but draw his Virtues nigh,
48 Lest the rude Picture shock the gazing Eye.
49 The Heralds-Office you must search with Care;
50 And look you find no Pimps nor Taylors there:
51 Bring none to light but honourable Knaves;
52 Shut up the Peasants in their mouldy Graves:
53 If Knights are wanting in the dusky Breed,
54 Arthur's round Table will supply your Need.
55 No more for I (as many Teachers do)
56 Shew my own Folly by instructing you;
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57 And you perhaps disdain my wholsom Rules;
58 So saucy Pupils count their Masters Fools:
59 But shou'd your Pride the common Track refuse,
60 You'll find small Pensions for your haughty Muse:
61 Still you may scribble on; and in the End
62 Be just as rich as Sir, your humble Friend.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): ADVICE to MYRTILLO.
    Author: Mary Leapor
    Themes: poetry; literature; writing
    Genres: heroic couplet; advice
    References: DMI 23749

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    Source edition

    Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor of Brackley in Northamptonshire. London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 167-170. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413; OTA K101776.000) (Page images digitized by Google Books — third-party rights apply.)

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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.

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