I saw and left my fault in time,
And chose a topic all sublime—
Wondrous as antient war or hero—
Then played and sung away like Nero,
Who sang of Rome, and I of Rizzo:
The subject has improved my wit so,
The first four lines the poet sees
Start forth in fourteen languages!
Though of seven volumes none before
Could ever reach the fame of four,
Henceforth I sacrifice all Glory
To the Rinaldo of my Story:
I've sung his health and appetite
(The last word 's not translated right—
He 's turned it, God knows how, to vigour)
I'll sing them in a book that 's bigger.
Oh! Muse prepare for thy Ascension!
And generous Rizzo! thou my pension.
[From an autograph MS. in the possession of Mr. Murray,
now for the first time printed.]
TO MR. MURRAY.
Strahan, Tonson, Lintot of the times,
Patron and publisher of rhymes,
For thee the bard up Pindus climbs,
- [See the last line of the Italian translation of the quatrain.]
- [William Strahan (1715-1785) published Johnson's Dictionary, Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Cook's Voyages, etc. He was great-grandfather of the mathematician William Spottiswoode (1825-1883).