Amira to Silviana

Amira to Silviana

Should I try to make verses, ’twill be but in vain;

So dear Silviana, don’t tease me:

For how, without Judgment or Wit in my Brain,

Could I e’er write a line that would please ye?

Should I with due Rev’rence pretend to implore

The Muses’ assistance and aid,

They’d be deaf to my Call and regard me no more

Than an Ape or an Ass, I’m afraid.

Though indeed, to speak truth, like the fox in the Fable,

I care not a fig for the Nine:

They’re such silly old Maidens they cannot be able

To help me to ever a line.

Greatest part of those Rhymers who boast their Acquaintance

Write nothing but nonsense and folly,

And those who write well, ’tis by dint of good plain sense –

Which is very much wanted by Polly.

As therefore Wit, Judgment, Good Sense, nor the Muse

Will enable me Verse to Compose,

’Twill be wisest for me your Request to Refuse,

And rest humbly contented with Prose.

Silviana to Amira

Yes, you have convinced me: the Argument’s plain:

You can’t Write, you make Verses to show it;

That Judgement and Wit have no part in your Brain

Would be fibs were it not from a Poet.

The Muses with Reverence you seem to implore

And fancy them deaf, weak and Old;

But perhaps you despise them because they are poor,

For Old Folks are wise, I am told.

Had the Fox eat the Grapes when he said they were sour

And other folks thought they were sweet,

Your Simile then must have run on all four,

Nor Reynard have paid for his wit.

Those Rhymers boast vainly the Muses’ acquaintance

Who write nought but Nonsense and Folly;

Their influence and favor Goodsense always maintains,

Which won’t fail to recommend Polly.

Then since Wit and Judgment you share with good sense,

And the Muse, tho’abus’d will be near ye,

If you refuse Verse on no better Pretence,

Write on humble Prose till you’re weary.

Amira to Silviana

Please then to tell your friend the Muse

(To guests like her) I am not at home.

Swagg’ring, her visits I refuse,

Because to me she will not come.

Text: MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regents Park College, STE 3/3/1, p. 62; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 2, pp. 199-201,