On reading a criticism
The following verses were written on reading a criticism on mine and my brother’s poems, mainly composed of long words and latin quotations, which appeared in the Craven Herald a few years ago, which, at the time, I thought had been written by the Editor of that paper, but which I after-wards found had been written by another person. – T.T.
Oh ! who is this critic, he signs not his name,
Who’s so anxious to put other people to shame ;
An’ who owt that offends he so fiercely assails
Wi’ Latin quotations an’ words wi’ lang tails ?
In language prophetic he foretells a day
When dialects vulgar ’ll au dee away ;
When the prince an’ the peasant, the owd an’ the young,
Will properly speak in their own native tongue.
But I reckon mesel ’at ere that day hes come,
Ivvry tongue that now wags will be silent an’ dumb ;
An’ au his lang columns, sa pompously written,
Will be shoved out o’ t’ seet an’ forivver forgitten.
The teetotal band next he hotly attacks,
An’ wi’ sarcastic vengeance he wallops their backs ;
But he used sa mich nasty an’ insultin’ slang,
That I cry, “ Stop ! owd fellow, ye’ll happen git wrang !
“ For though wise in yer awn estimation ye be,
Still we’ve men in our ranks quite superior to ye –
For talent an’ learning, for muscle an’ baan ;
Jack yer pipe an’ yer pot then an’ let us alaan.
“ Though ye may hev been tutered at school, or at college,
Until yer daft noddle’s near burstin’ wi’ knowledge ;
Still wit can’t be gitten fra cut an’ dry rules,
Nor wise men be med out of puppies an’ fools.
“ Though ye pour yer grand sentences line upon line,
Though in grammar an’ Latin ye’ve med yersel shine,
Though yer spiteful an’ scornful – yet still its quite clear
That to criticise poets is not in yer sphere.
“ Though ye’ve giv’n up to study t’ main part o’ yer time,
Still ye knah nowt at au about metre or rhyme ;
An’ ye’ll allus git muddled – of that there’s no doubt –
When ye meddle wi’ subjects ye knah nowt about.
“ Then, if ye be a newsmonger, stick to the news,
An’ watch the proceedin’s of yellows and blues ;
Ye’ll hev plenty to do in these critical times,
Without taxing yer wit about t’ merit o’ rhymes.
“ But whate’er be yer station don’t tak it amiss,
If by way of conclusion I recommend this :
That ye mind yer awn business, an’ keep yer awn place,
For meddlesome puppies oft end in disgrace. ”