Chatterton, Thomas: The Art of Puffing
The Art of Puffing (Angol)
By a Bookseller's Journeman
Vers'd by experience in the subtle art,
The myst'ries of a title I impart:
Theach the young author how to please the town,
And make the heavy drug of thyme go down.
Since Curl, immortal, never-fying name!
A double Pica in the book of Fame,
By various arts did various dunces prop,
And tickled ev'ry fancy to his shop,
Who can, like Pottinger, ensure a book?
Who judges with the solid taste of Cooke?
Villains, exalted. in the midway sky,
Shall live again to drain your purses dry:
Nor yet unrivall'd they; see Baldwin comes,
Rich in inventions, patents, cuts, and hums:
The honourable Boswell writes, `tis true, -
What else can Paoli's supporter do?
The trading wits endeavour to attain,
Like booksellers, the world's first idol gain;
For this they puff the heavy Goldsmith's line.
And hail his sentiment, though trite, divine;
For this the patriotic bard complains,
And Bingley binds poor Liberty in chains;
For this was ev’ry reader's faithe deceiv’d,
And Edmunds swore what nobody believ’d;
For this the wits in close disguises fight;
For this the varying politicians write;
For this each month new magazines are sold,
With dulness fill’d and transcripts of the old.
The Town and Country struck a lucky hit,
Was novel, sentimental, full of wit:
Aping her walk, the same success to find,
The Court and City hobbles far behind.
Sons of Apollo learn ; merit's no more
Than a good frontispiece to grace the door.
The author who invents a title well
Will always find his covered dulness sell;
Flexney and ev’ry bookseller will buy,
Bound in neat calf the work will never die.