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Where dost thou careless lie
    Buried in ease and sloth?
Knowledge that sleeps, doth die
And this security,
    It is the common moth
That eats on wits and arts, and that destroys them both.

Are all the Aonian springs
    Dried up? lies Thespia waste?
Doth Clarius’ harp want strings,
That not a nymph now sings;
    Or droop they as disgraced,
To see their seats and bowers by chattering pies defaced?

If hence thy silence be,
    As ’tis too just a cause,
Let this thought quicken thee:
Minds that are great and free
    Should not on fortune pause;
’Tis crown enough to virtue still, her own applause.

What though the greedy fry
    Be taken with false baits
Of worded balladry,
And think it poesy?
    They die with their conceits,
And only piteous scorn upon their folly waits.

Then take in hand thy lyre;
    Strike in thy proper strain;
With Japhet’s line aspire
Sol’s chariot, for new fire
    To give the world again:
Who aided him, will thee, the issue of Jove’s brain.

And, since our dainty age
    Cannot endure reproof,
Make not thyself a page
To that strumpet the stage;
    But sing high and aloof,
Safe from the wolf’s black jaw, and the dull ass’s hoof.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.