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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/489

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447
HINTS FROM HORACE.

And, after fruitless efforts, you return
Without amendment, and he answers, "Burn!"
That instant throw your paper in the fire,
Ask not his thoughts, or follow his desire;
But (if true Bard!) you scorn to condescend,[1]
And will not alter what you can't defend,790
If you will breed this Bastard of your Brains,[2]
We'll have no words—I've only lost my pains.


Yet, if you only prize your favourite thought,
As critics kindly do, and authors ought;
If your cool friend annoy you now and then,
And cross whole pages with his plaguy pen;
No matter, throw your ornaments aside,—
Better let him than all the world deride.
Give light to passages too much in shade,
Nor let a doubt obscure one verse you've made;800
Your friend's a "Johnson," not to leave one word,
However trifling, which may seem absurd;
Such erring trifles lead to serious ills,
And furnish food for critics, or their quills.[3]


As the Scotch fiddle, with its touching tune,

Or the sad influence of the angry Moon,
  1. But if you're too conceited to amend.—[MS. L. (a).]
  2. Minerva being the first by Jupiter's head-piece, and a variety of equally unaccountable parturitions upon earth, such as Madoc, etc. etc.
  3. "A crust for the critics."—Bayes, in "the Rehearsal" [act ii. sc. 2].