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TO MEDIOCRITY.

Of vulgar thee-my Muse would sing,
And flap thy praise on leaden wing,
Though thou art an insipid thing,

Mediocrity.

Fortune's unenvied minion, thou,
Still prospering, one knows not how,
I make to thee toad-eating bow,

Mediocrity.

Ay, let unheeded talents shine ;
Such empty splendours are not thine ;
But solid, that the pocket line ;

Mediocrity.

Behold enthusiast Virtue glow !
Do you, my heroine prude, do so ?
Or quit your freezing point ?

Mediocrity.

Oh! no,

When you pursue your humdrum prosing,
Each mawkish, meagre thought exposing,
While Talent sits beneath you, dozing,

(Mediocrity.)

To gross and multitudinous ear,
Your common places oft appear
Bright offspring keen of Wisdom sheer ;

Mediocrity.

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And of the powers that be, * meanwhile,
Your pliant dulness wins the smile ;
Their plots you can nor pierce nor foil ;

Mediocrity.

Archbishop thus, or Chancellor,
Commander of the Forces,—or
To Cabinet perhaps you soar,

Mediocrity.

Thus pamper'd, you grow self-sufficient ;
In nothing deem yourself deficient ;
But are, soi-disant, all-efficient;

Mediocrity.

* This was written, years ago ; and then seen by many :-a fact which I state, from my regard to truth, and not by way of “ making toad-eating bow” to the now existing Powers. Let me say, in passing, see Metaphysic Rambles, Dialogue the Third, page 96, and foot of page 95; from which it may be collected, that the view disclosed by this stanza was taken by its author in 1793,

To Talent grow quite supercilious,
Treating like sort of Terræ filius ;
Which makes said Talent rather bilious;

Mediocrity.

To find itself so under-rated,
Dulness so pompous and elated,
Fortune so partial to thick-pated

Mediocrity.

For, of such coarse grained second rate,
Our peddling Ministers of State,
Their tools and allies fabricate,

Mediocrity.

Their narrow jealousies, inclined
To shun the glance of Master Mind,
Cry, with a frown, get thee behind

Mediocrity.

And Genius e'en must go behind ;
There slighted, slandered, starved, and pined,
Leave empires to thy conduct blind,

Mediocrity.

So is our politic drama cast,
Where last is first, and first is last :
'Twas not aye so, in eras past,

Mediocrity,

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Of Pitt, and Canning, Fox, and Burke :
Even in Napoleon's despot work,
Bide what there might, there did not lurk

Mediocrity.

O could my pen

Middlers avaunt !
But banish all our middle-men,
Rack-rent, con-acre,* famine ;-—then,

Medio-crity,

Erin might cease to pine and droop ;
And many a now half-famish'd group i
Revive, take courage, and look up ;

Mediocrity.

And what do absentees appear ?
Amphibious middlemen, I fear,
Whose golden dews are shed not here,

Mediocrity :

No ; though exhaled from Erin's soil,
Her patient poverty, and toil,
They but enrich the sister isle,

Mediocrity.

* I spell by ear-this word of dubious orthography and derivation. # No general rule without exceptions. Some of the most prosperous tenantry, and best cultivated ground in Ireland, (for example in the North,) will be found to be the property of excellent Absentee Landlords.

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And now-God save our noble King !
Let order from confusion spring;
And giant Wisdom crush that thing,

Mediocrity.

For it becomes not thee to rule,
And play the tyrant and the fool,
On brink of fell Charybdis pool,

Mediocrity.

We must fell thee ; or thou wilt fell us :
So said—not bluntly shrewd Ofellus,-
But a Scotch soldier to his fellows ;*

Me diocrity.

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With eulogy commenced my lays ;
But powerful Truth's o'erwhelming blaze
Extinguished soon thy rush-light praise,

Poor Mediocrity !

Then lay thee down, encomiast pen :
Small vermin, to your holes again :
The crisis calls aloud for Men ;

Not Mediocrity.

* Allusion to a well-known anecdote.

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