The Tradesman and the Scholar by Anne Kingsmill Finch

A Citizen of mighty Pelf,
But much a Blockhead, in himself
Disdain'd a Man of shining Parts,
Master of Sciences and Arts,
Who left his Book scarce once a day
For sober Coffee, Smoak, or Tea;
Nor spent more Money in the Town
Than bought, when need requir'd, a Gown;
Which way of Living much offends
The Alderman, who gets and spends,
And grudges him the Vital Air,
Who drives no Trade, and takes no Care.
Why Bookworm! to him once he cry'd,
Why, setting thus the World aside,
Dost thou thy useless Time consume,
Enclos'd within a lonely Room,
And poring damnify thy Wit,
'Till not for Men, or Manners fit ?
Hop'st thou, with urging of thy Vein,
To spin a Fortune from thy Brain?
Or gain a Patron, that shall raise
Thy solid State, for empty Praise?
No; trust not to your Soothings vile,
Receiv'd per me's the only Stile.
Your Book's but frown'd on by My Lord;
If Mine's uncross'd, I reach his Board.

In slighting Yours, he shuts his Hand;
Protracting Mine, devolves the Land.
Then let Advantage be the Test,
Which of us Two ev'n Writes the best.
Besides, I often Scarlet wear,
And strut to Church, just next the Mayor.
Whilst rusty Black, with Inch of Band,
Is all the Dress you understand;
Who in the Pulpit thresh to Please,
Whilst I below can snore at Ease.
Yet, if you prove me there a Sinner,
I let you go without a Dinner.
This Prate was so beneath the Sence
Of One, who Wisdom cou'd dispense,
Unheard, or unreturn'd it past:
But War now lays the City waste,
And plunder'd Goods profusely fell
By length of Pike, not length of Ell.
Abroad th' Inhabitants are forc'd,
From Shops, and Trade, and Wealth divorc'd.

The Student leaving but his Book,
The Tumult of the Place forsook.
In Foreign Parts, One tells his Tale,
How Rich he'd been, how quick his Sale,
Which do's for scanty Alms prevail.
The Chance of War whilst he deplores,
And dines at Charitable Doors;
The Man of Letters, known by Fame,
Was welcom'd, wheresoe'er he came.
Still, Potentates entreat his Stay,
Whose Coaches meet him on the Way:
And Universities contest
Which shall exceed, or use him best.
Amaz'd the Burgomaster sees
On Foot, and scorn'd such Turns as these;
And sighing, now deplores too late
His cumb'rous Trash, and shallow Pate:
Since loaded but with double Chest
Of learned Head, and honest Breast,
The Scholar moves from Place to Place,
And finds in every Climate Grace.

Wit and the Arts, on that Foundation rais'd,
(Howe'er the Vulgar are with Shows amaz'd)
Is all that recommends, or can be justly prais'd.

by Anne Kingsmill Finch

Other poems by 'Anne Kingsmill Finch'

A Pastoral Dialogue Between Two Shepherdesses

A Song

A Tale of the Miser and the Poet

Adam Pos'd


An Apology for my fearfull temper

An EPISTLE From A Gentleman To Madam Deshouliers

An EPISTLE from Alexander to Hephaestion In His Sickness

An Invitation to Dafnis

Ardelia to Melancholy

Search Poems
e.g. love, marriage, kids

Popular poems this week

In Silence We Left

The Lost Dances of Cranes

The Author to her Book

Summer Evening

The Lesson

A chilly Peace infests the Grass

You Fit Into Me

To Mæcenas

mr youse needn't be so spry..

Oh, honey of an hour