To a Gentleman, who requested a Copy of Verses from the Author.

1 I Have, before the Time prescrib'd by you,
2 Expos'd my weak Production to your View,
3 Which may, I hope, have Pardon at your Hand,
4 Because produc'd to Light by your Command
5 Perhaps you might expect some finish'd Ode,
6 Or sacred Song, to sound the Praise of God;
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7 A glorious Thought, and laudable! But then
8 Think what illit'rate Poet guides the Pen:
9 Ill suit such Tasks with one who holds the Plough,
10 Such lofty Subjects with a Fate so low.
11 SIR, were your Eloquence and Learning mine,
12 And I, like you, a Fav'rite of the Nine;
13 I quickly would Parnassus' Summit climb,
14 And find a Hero worthy of my Rhyme:
15 Nor should my Muse the Grecian Monarchs trace,
16 Nor would I celebrate the Trojan Race;
17 Nor any of those martial Sons of Fame,
18 Pagans, unworthy of a Christian's Theme.
19 Far nobler Thoughts my grateful Voice should raise,
20 In lofty Strains, to great MESSIAH's Praise:
21 I'd joyfully resound his wond'rous Birth,
22 And paint his Godlike Virtues, whilst on Earth;
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23 Then, with Reluctance, Horror, and Surprize,
24 I'd mournfully relate his Agonies;
25 I'd trace the heav'nly Hero to the Tree,
26 Sing what he suffer'd there for you and me;
27 Next, in heroic Numbers, would I tell,
28 How soon he baffled Death, and vanquish'd Hell,
29 Subdu'd the Grave, and shew'd the glorious Way,
30 From Realms of Darkness, to eternal Day.
31 Such noble Subjects should my Lays excite;
32 And you, my Patron, would in such delight;
33 Grateful to me, when you, well-pleas'd, should view
34 Th'accomplish'd sacred Song inscrib'd to you.
35 BUT now I must omit MESSIAH's Praise,
36 Lest I degrade him with unworthy Lays;
37 My Fate compels me silent to remain,
38 For want of Learning to improve my Strain:
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39 By which no Thought, tho' well conceiv'd, can rise
40 To full Perfection, but in Embryo dies:
41 Yet my unpolish'd Genius will produce,
42 And bring forth something, tho' of little Use.
43 THUS, in the Country, often have I found,
44 Thro' slothful Man's Neglect, a Plat of Ground,
45 Waste and uncultivated, void of Seeds,
46 Producing nothing, but some trifling Weeds.
47 BUT why stand I my Fate accusing so?
48 The Field calls me to Labour; I must go:
49 The Kine low after Meat; the hungry Steed,
50 Neighing, complains he wants his usual Feed.
51 Then, Sir, adieu: Accept what you did crave,
52 And be propitious to your humble Slave.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): To a Gentleman, who requested a Copy of Verses from the Author.
Author: Stephen Duck
Themes: rural life
Genres: heroic couplet; address

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Source edition

Duck, Stephen, 1705-1756. Poems on several occasions: By Stephen Duck. London: printed for the author, 1736, pp. []-4. xl,334,[2]p. ; 4⁰. (ESTC T90234; OTA K073280.000)

Editorial principles

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 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 4.0.0.

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