E NIHILO NIHIL
An Epigram Bewitched
February, 1818 ( Published in 1903 )
Of Rhymes I printed seven volumes ---
The list concludes John Murray's columns:
Of these there have been few translations
For Gallic or Italian nations;
And one or two perhaps in German ---
But in this last I can't determine.
But Then I only sung of passions
That do not suit with modern fashions;
Of Incest and such like diversions
Permitted only to the Persians,
Or Greeks to bring upon their stages ---
But that was in the earlier ages;
Besides my style is the romantic,
Which some call fine, and some call frantic;
While others are or would seem as sick
Of repetitions nicknamed Classic.
For my part all men must allow
Whatever I was, I'm classic now.
I saw and left my fault in time,
And chose a topic all sublime ---
Wondrous as antient war or hero ---
Then played and sung away like Nero,
Who sang of Rome, and I of Rizzo:
The subject has improved my wit so,
The first four lines of the poet sees
Start forth in fourteen languages !
Though of seven volumes none before
Could ever reach the fame of four,
Henceforth I sacrifice all Glory
To the Rinaldo of my Story:
I've sung his health and appetitie;
( The last word's not translated right ---
He's turned it, God knows how, to vigour )
I'll sing them in a book that's bigger.
Oh ! Muse prepare for the Ascension !
And generous Rizzo ! thou my pension.