Robert Burns

Occasional Address, Spoken by Miss Fontenelle

written in 1793

Still anxious to secure your partial favor, And not less anxious sure, this night than ever, A Prologue, Epilogue, or some such matter, 'Twould vamp my Bill, thought I, if nothing better; So, sought a Poet, roosted near the skies, Told him, I came to feast my curious eyes; Said, nothing like his works was ever printed, And last, my Prologue-business, slily hinted. Ma'am, let me tell you, quoth my Man of RHYMES, I know your bent- these are no laughing times; Can you, but Miss, I own I have my fears, Dissolve in pause- and sentimental tears With laden sighs, and solemn-rounded sentence, Rouse from his sluggish slumbers, fell Repentance; Paint Vengeance, as he takes his horrid stand, Waving on high the desolating brand, Calling the storms to bear him o'er a guilty Land! I could no more- askance the creature eyeing, D'ye think, said I, this face was made for crying? I'll laugh, that's pos-nay more, the world shall know it; And so, your servant, gloomy Master Poet. Firm as my creed, Sirs, 'tis my fix'd belief, That Misery's another word for Grief: I also think � so may I be a Bride! That so much laughter, so much life enjoy'd. Thou man of crazy care, and ceaseless sigh, Still under bleak Misfortune's blasting eye; Doom'd to that sorest task of man alive To make three guineas do the work of five; Laugh in Misfortune's face- the beldam witch! Say, you'll be merry � tho' you can't be rich. Thou other man of care, the wretch in love, Who long with jiltish arts and airs hast strove; Who, as the boughs all temptingly project, Measur'st, in desp'rate thought - a rope - thy neck � Or, where the bleeting cliffs o'erhang the deep Peerest, to meditate the healing leap: [For shame! For shame! I tell thee, thou art no man: This for a giddy, vain, capricious woman? A creature, though I say't you know, that should not; Ridiculous with her idiot, 'Would and Would not.'] Wouldst thou be cur'd, thou silly, moping elf? Laugh at her follies; laugh e'en at thyself: Learn to despise those frowns, now so terrific; And love a kinder � that's your grand specific! To sum up all � be merry! I advise; And as we're merry, may we still be wise.

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