New Zealand Minstrelsy
Stanzas, To a Young Poet
Stanzas, To a Young Poet.
“Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
The steep, where fame’s proud temple shines afar.”
Hail, friendly youth! fair orient genius!
In answer I employ my pen of steel;
Nor can my muse be so ungenerous
As not in thee a growing pleasure feel;
Nor can my soul its innate joy conceal,
To hear, in symphony, ye tune the lyre:—
Music and SongThen rouse, ye sacred Nine! your powers reveal
And kindle in his breast each quick’ning fire,
As he with inward music loves to join the choir.
Religion; SocietyAh! tender youth, ye little know what care
May dare in ambush, yet waylay thy steps;
May heaven, still kindly you in favour spare,
And guide thy feet from such engulphing traps,
Which oft arrest the progress of adepts;
Who, oft are met by barriers of scorn,
And adverse fortunes,—disappointed hopes,
’Mid which their labours painfully were borne,
Then left to meet their fates forgotten and forlorn.
SocietyOh! fly fair Flattery, whose delusive tongue
Beguiles with vain enticing words of wind—
Whose company, the root of every wrong,
If once indulged, you no escape will find,
While in its close embrace thou art confin’d—
Which Siren-like, most charmingly will lull
With praise melodious the unwary mind;
Till pride inflates thee, thus t’ensure thy fall;—
Then keen remorse will vex and harrow up thy soul.
Be noble-minded! circumspect, reserve,
ImaginationOf building fancy’s airy towers beware;
Lest heedlessly through self-conceit ye swerve,
And from thy giddy height—so press’d with care,—
Ye headlong tumble,—grasping at the air,
To break thy fall, to dreadful fate consigned—
Suffering; HonourA dire arousement! waking in despair,
When all thy hopes and prospects with the wind,
Are fled, and not a wreck of fame is left behind.
Future; HonourIs’t future praise—a vain anticipation
Of phantom fame—ye harbour in your breast?
Or is it sport? a sordid degradation
Of genius’ gift, of which thou art possess’d:
Future; Honour; SocietyThe tongue of Time will have it loud express’d,
When round th’ eventful wheel of fortune’s whirl’d,
To point thy lot high seated with the blest,
Or high exalted, be to ruin hurl’d,
Then hiss’d and scoff’d at by a scandalizing world!
Prosperity; Religion; HonourBut what ennobles more the human mind
Than meditating on the works of God:
Exciting magnanimity refined
’Bove all which wealth or honour e’er bestow’d:—
Society; HonourBut, ah! what secular’ties make inroad,
page v To vex sweet peace, or raise the tattling sneer;
A neighbour’s name with infamy to load,
Exposing virtue to opprobrious jeer:—
From such base degradations of thy muse forbear!
Society; Religion; Prosperity; ChangeGo on! and may you prosper in your sphere,
But mark attentive, e’er ye’ve gone afar,
Lest Envy should in unawares appear
Against thy hopes and prospects waging war,
Employing all, thy progress to debar:—
Why should I on such themes of grievance dwell?
Be stirr’d!—let no despondence e’er thee mar,
Aim to improve, as ye aspire t’excell;—
Be virtue’s friend! and Heav’n will bless thy muse.—