Thursday, June 21, 2018

Scottish Poetry XXI

To Dr. Samuel Johnson
...-Food for a New Edition of His Dictionary
by Robert Fergusson


    Let Wilkes and Churchill rage no more,
    Though scarce provision, learning's good:
    What can these hungries next explore?
    Even Samuel Johnson loves our food.

Great pedagogue whose literarian lore,
With syllable on syllable conjoin'd,
To transmutate and varify, hast learn’d
The whole revolving scientific names
That in the alphabetic columns lie,
Far from the knowledge of mortalic shapes;
As we, who never can peroculate
The miracles by thee miraculiz’d,
The Muse, silential long, with mouth apert,
Would give vibration to stagnatic tongue,
And loud encomiate thy puissant name,
Eulogiated from the green decline
Of Thames's banks to Scoticanian shores,
Where Lochlomondian liquids undulize.

To meminate thy name in after times,
The mighty mayor of each regalian town
Shall consignate thy work to parchment fair
In roll burgharian, and their tables all
Shall fumigate with fumigation strong:
Scotland, from perpendicularian hills,
Shall emigrate her fair muttonian store,
Which late had there in pedestration walk'd,
And o'er her airy heights perambuliz'd.

Oh, blackest execrations on thy head,
Edina shameless| Though he came within
The bounds of your notation; though you knew
His honorific name; you noted not,
But basely suffer'd him to chariotize
Far from your towers with smoke that nubilate,
Nor drank one amicitial swelling cup
To welcome him convivial. Bailies all!
With rage inflated, catenations tear,
Nor ever after be you vinculiz'd,
Since you that sociability denied
To him whose potent lexiphanian style
Words can prolongate, and inswell his page
With what in others to a line's confin'd.

Welcome, thou verbal potentate and prince!
To hills and valleys, where emerging oats
From earth assuage our pauperty to bay,
And bless thy name, thy dictionarian skill,
Which there definitive will still remain,
And oft be speculiz’d by taper blue,
While youth studentious turn thy folio page.

Have you, as yet, in per'patetic mood,
Regarded with the texture of the eye
The cave cavernic, where fraternal bard,
Churchill, depicted pauperated swains
With thraldom and bleak want reducted sore;
Where nature, colouriz'd, so coarsely fades,
And puts her russet par’phernalia on?
Have you, as yet, the way explorified
To let lignarian chalice, swell'd with oats,
Thy orifice approach P Have you, as yet,
With skin fresh rubified with scarlet spheres,
Applied brimstonic unction to your hide,
To terrify the salamandrian fire
That from involuntary digits asks
The strong allaceration?–Or can you swill
The usquebalian flames of whisky blue
In fermentation strong? Have you applied
The kilt aerian to your Anglian thighs,
And with renunciation assigniz'd
Your breeches in Londona to be worn?
Can you, in frigour of Highlandian sky,
On heathy summits take nocturnal rest? o
It cannot be :—You may as well desire
An alderman leave plumpuddenian store,
And scratch the tegument from pottage dish,
As bid thy countrymen, and thee, conjoin'd,
Forsake stomachic joys. Then hie you home,
And be a malcontent, that naked hinds,
On lentiles fed, could make your kingdom quake,
And tremulate Old England libertiz'd!

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