Grant me such a command of ideas and words, beef-steaks, mutton-chops and caper sauce, that I may have no occasion to hunt, day and night, with a hungry belly, for hemistiches and lack of rhymes, without, often, being able to find good ones, which is the very reason that I am often more unfortunate than if I were actually working in the mines, quarries, and plantations. I beg of ye to inspire me from time to time with some new subjects, that I may not be obliged to fag in the paths previously trodden and rendered threadbare by others; and that I may cease to repeat, as I have often done, and continue to do, even to disgust, that which has been said, whistled, and sung, a thousand times before. Give me strength patiently to support the calamities of poetic life; the malignity, but more frequently the ignorance and bombast of bad critics, as well as the severity and truth of just ones — the fall and other accidents which people of my precarious calling are heir to. Grant also that I may neither become inflated with pride, nor crack my skin with joy, on the least triumph I may obtain. Grant also that the intestine war, so long carried on, under the superintendence of Æolus, between my little guts and large ones, may cease; and that the wrinkles and collapsed sides of my stomach may be shaken out and distended with some of the good things of this life, of which it has long and patiently been deprived.
3 October 2016
O Lord, Hear My Prayer
Dick Humelbergius Secundus, "Evening Prayer of a Half Starved Hungry Poet," Apician Morsels; or, Tales of the Table, Kitchen, and Larder (London: Whittaker, Treacher and Co., 1829), pp. 113-114: