1 TO print, or not to print — that is the question.
2 Whether 'tis better in a trunk to bury
3 The quirks and crotchets of outrageous Fancy,
4 Or send a well-wrote copy to the press,
5 And by disclosing, end them. To print, to doubt
6 No more; and by one act to say we end
7 The head-ach, and a thousand natural shocks
8 Of scribbling frenzy — 'tis a consummation
9 Devoutly to be wish'd. To print — to beam
10 From the same shelf with Pope, in calf well bound:
11 To sleep, perchance, with Quarles — Ay, there's the rub —
12 For to what class a writer may be doom'd,
13 When he hath shuffled off some paltry stuff,
14 Must give us pause. There's the respect that makes
15 Th' unwilling poet keep his piece nine years.
16 For who would bear th' impatient thirst of fame,
17 The pride of conscious merit, and 'bove all,[Page 83]
18 The tedious importunity of friends,
19 When as himself might his quietus make
20 With a bare inkhorn? Who would fardles bear?
21 To groan and sweat under a load of wit?
22 But that the tread of steep Parnassus' hill,
23 That undiscover'd country, with whose bays
24 Few travellers return, puzzles the will,
25 And makes us rather bear to live unknown,
26 Than run the hazard to be known, and damn'd.
27 Thus critics do make cowards of us all.
28 And thus the healthful face of many a poem
29 Is sickly'd o'er with a pale manuscript;
30 And enterprizers of great fire and spirit,
31 With this regard from DODSLEY turn away,
32 And lose the name of Authors.