HAMLET'S SOLILOQUY IMITATED
by Richard Jago To print, or not to print—that is the question. Whether ‘tis better in a trunk to bury The quirks and crotchets of outrageous fancy, Or send a well-wrote copy to the press, And by disclosing, end them? To print, to doubt No more; and by one act to say we end The head-ach, and a thousand natural shocks Of scribbling frenzy—'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To print—to beam From the same shelf with Pope, in calf well bound! To sleep, perchance, with Quarles—Ay there's the rub – For to what class a writer may be doom'd, When he hath shuffled off some paltry stuff, Must give us pause.—There's the respect that makes Th' unwilling poet keep his piece nine years. For who would bear th' impatient thirst of fame, The pride of conscious merit, and ‘bove all, The tedious importunity of friends, When as himself might his quietus make With a bare inkhorn? Who would fardles bear? To groan and sweat under a load of wit? But that the tread of steep Parnassus' hill, That undiscover'd country, with whose bays Few travellers return, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear to live unknown, Than run the hazard to be known, and damn'd. Thus critics do make cowards of us all. And thus the healthful face of many a poem Is sickly'd o'er with a pale manuscript; And enterprisers of great fire, and spirit, With this regard from Dodsley turn away, And lose the name of authors.
The end