This old poem provides a neat summation
Of E2's compelling call to node creation....
The Muse's Triumph
* Possible new E2 tagline right there!!
by Thomas Oldham, 1840
What adverse passions rule my changeful breast,
With hope exalted, or by fear deprest!
Now, by the Muse inspired, I snatch the lyre,
And proudly to poetic fame aspire;
Now dies the sacred flame, my pride declines,
And diffidence the immortal wreath resigns.
Friends, void of taste, warm advocates for trade,
With shafts of ridicule, my peace invade:
'A Poet!'—thus they sneeringly exclaim—
'Well may you court that glorious, envied name;
For, sure, no common joys his lot attend;
None but himself those joys can comprehend.
O, superhuman bliss, employ sublime,
To scribble fiction, and to jingle rhyme!*
Caged in some muse-behaunted, Grub-street garret,
To prate his feeders' promptings, like a parrot!
And what, though want and scorn his life assail!
What, though he rave in Bedlam, starve in jail?
Such trifling ills the Bard may well despise;
Sure of immortal honour when he dies.
But, seriously—the advice of friendship hear:
Stop short in your poetical career;
Of quell the frenzies of your fever'd brain,
And turn, at Wisdom's call, to trade and gain.'
Absorb'd in passive sadness, I comply;
Turn from the Muse my disenchanted eye,
And deign to study, as my friends persuade,
The little, money-getting arts of trade.
But soon the Goddess, fired with high disdain
To see me woo the yellow strumpet, Gain,
Resuming all her beauty, all her power,
Returns to triumph in the vacant hour;
Weakly reluctant, on her charms I gaze,
Trembling, I feel her fascinating lays;
Roused from ignoble dreams, my wondering soul
Springs to the well-known bliss, regardless of control.
Say then, ye blind, profane! who dare to blame
The heaven-born Poet, and his thirst of fame;
Ye slaves of Mammon! whose low minds behold
No fair, no great, no good, in aught but gold;
Say! will the Captive of tyrannic sway,
Restored to genial air, and boundless day,
Turn to his dungeon's suffocating night?
Will the proud Eagle, who with daring flight
Sublimely soars against the solar blaze,
And eyes the inspiring God with raptured gaze,
Stoop from his native kingdom in the sky,
To share the breathings of mortality?
How, then, can he, whose breast the Muse inspires,
Restrain his soul, or quench those hallow'd fires?
How can he quit the world of mental bliss,
For all the riches,—miseries!—of this?