“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,
adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Believe me, dear Pisos, that just such a freak
Is the crude and preposterous poem
Which merely abounds in a torrent of sounds,
With no rhyme or reason below ’em.
’Tis all very well to give license to art —
The wisdom of license defend I —
But the line should be drawn at the fripperish spawn
Of a mere cacoethes scribendi.
It is too much the fashion to strain at effects —
Yes, that’s what’s the matter with Hannah!
Our popular taste, by the tyros debased,
Paints each barnyard a grove of Diana!
Should a patron require you to paint a marine,
Would you work in some trees with their barks on?
When his strict orders are for a Japanese jar,
Would you give him a pitcher like Clarkson?
Now, this is my moral: Compose what you may,
And Fame will be ever far distant
Unless you combine with simple design
A treatment in toto consistent.